The First Amendment spankings continued this afternoon in Judge Tim Kelly’s courtroom as Proud Boy leader, husband, father, friend, and bad-ass patriot, Ethan Nordean was sentenced to 18 years for his actions on January 6, 2021.
But before we get into the details, let’s have a member berry.
Proud Boys member Ethan Nordean, of WA state, was sentenced today to 18 years in federal prison over the Jan. 6 riot. In 2018, Nordean went viral for knocking out an #Antifa member who was beating people with a baton in a brawl in downtown Portland, Ore. pic.twitter.com/KA0xh6Zjv7— Andy Ngô 🏳️🌈 (@MrAndyNgo) September 1, 2023
Nordean’s attorney, Nick Smith, unsuccessfully rallied to prevail in objections to language in the PSR. Smith maintained there was no evidence produced to prove Nordean referred to police as “pigs” and “traitors.”
Kelly insisted he remembered such evidence and denied the objection.
Likely to avoid looking like a real meanie, he agreed to remove the “thin blue line is dead” reference in the PSR, although the government referred back to the trial transcript where Agent Miller affirmed the recorded voice indeed belonged to Nordean.
As Kelly began the painfully long process of covering the sentencing guidelines, Smith told Judge Kelly that Nordean was willing to forego the exhaustive details.
Nordean’s counsel argued that the guideline requires offense to “result in substantial interference in administration of justice” and that the defendant did not go looking for House members to assault at the Capitol, nor was his conduct more substantial than the average in comparison to others accused of the same crime.
Smith moved on contending that criminal acts in the federal list of terrorism are symbolic acts such as coercion or intimidation, not physical acts such as taking down a fence.
Kelly stuck with the Circuit standard of using preponderance and stated he would rule same way even if it were clear and convincing.
AUSA McCullough approached the plate, comfortable with his home-field advantage.
As to the question of administration of justice, the lead prosecutor contended that Nordean should not be compared to the other players on the field as he was without a doubt a leader that day. He went on to suggest that taking down the fences represented a message of intimidation and led to Congress having to stop work. In the end, Kelly applied the enhancements.
Then he egged himself on by recalling Tarrio instructed the guys to bring pepper spray and that Nordean took over as leader after Tarrio’s arrest. Then he threw on two more enhancements for good measure.
As far as his concerns went about Nordean’s intoxication on Jan 6. and how it relates to his guilt, he considered it a moot point. He didn’t see any indication of drunken swagger, although Nordean was purported to have drunk at least 6 beers.
After considering all offense levels, Kelly maintained the 324-405 months guideline range, or 27 years to 33 years.
The government was back up to bat. McCullough stressed they wanted no less than 17 years. He went on to detail how Nordean seduced Pezzola and others into believing violence was the answer.
Smith posited that Jan. 6 was simply an embarrassment to the country, which was the perfect soft pitch for Kelly to once again attest to it being a “threat to our democracy.” Without actually using those words.
“If we don’t have a peaceful transfer of power in this country, we don’t have anything.”
Surely, he forgot the fact that the transfer of power happened, as scheduled, 2 weeks later, on Inauguration Day.
Smith fielded the argument by suggesting the court must be cautious in times of fear and hysteria. That even loathsome groups are allowed and must not be persecuted against.
Astounded that Smith would accuse him of such, he jumped in and responded, “The sentences I hand down will have nothing to do with these defendants views whatsoever.”
Finally, Nordean’s family took the stand with brief statements.
Ethan’s sister said he “brings light to people” is good at bringing people together. Looking at Judge Kelly, she said “I wish you could have spent a day with him because if you did, you would find a good and kind man.”
Ethan’s wife reminded the court of their daughter who will soon be driving and dating without her father in the home.
Nordean took the stand himself. He apologized for his actions and lack of leadership.
“There is no rally or political protest that should ever hold value over human life. I implore anyone who feels proud of January 6 to imagine it was your loved one who didn’t come home that day…
A lot of people went to January 6 with good intentions, but passions accelerated, and chaos ensued. …even if we start out with good outcomes, the end result is how we will be judged, as it should be…”
Kelly stated he must consider not just a statement in courtroom but also all evidence of what Nordean said and did before and after Jan. 6.
His Honor then sentenced him to 18 years in prison.
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