“Caught up” Capitol striker gets 5 years behind bars

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A Donald Trump supporter who pounded police with poles during the 2021 Capitol attack was sentenced to 63 months behind bars on Tuesday, tied for the longest sentence given to Jan. 6 rioters.

Mark Ponder, 56, will have more than five years to reflect on his decision to assault law enforcement officers protecting elected officials from an angry mob determined to keep Trump in power after the former’s election defeat President. No one has been sentenced to more time behind bars in the insurgency so far than Ponder, who is tied with another person for the longest sentence.

US District Judge Tanya Chutkan did not buy the Washington, D.C. man’s claim that he was ‘not thinking that day’, and handed him a sentence three months longer than he was given. prosecutors had suggested.

“He intended to attack and injure police officers,” the judge said in US District Court in Washington. “It was not a protest.”

A lawyer for the defendant argued that his client had been “caught up in the January 6 madness”.

Chutkan countered that Ponder was actually “leading the charge” against law enforcement.

Ponder pleaded guilty in April to smashing a pole on an officer’s shield, then rushing into a crowd to retrieve a stronger red, white and blue one he had used to assault two other officers . Ponder then joined a group fighting the police in a tunnel in the United States Capitol. He was later arrested by FBI agents.

Ponder’s attorney argued that his client, who prosecutors say had a long criminal history that included bank robbery, was only meant to verbally push the lie that the election was stolen, but was carried away by the momentum of the day’s events.

More than 800 Trump supporters have been charged with federal crimes for their involvement in the Jan. 6 insurgency.

Ponder’s sentence matches that of Robert Palmer, a 54-year-old Florida man, who wept as he told the same judge he was “really, really ashamed” of his actions. Palmer, who threw a plank of wood and a fire extinguisher at officers defending the Capitol, wrote in a letter to the court that he was duped by people with ‘great power’ into mistakenly believing the election was rigged.

With dispatch services

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