Jul 26, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Jan. 6 defendant sentenced to 63 months in prison for assaulting police

Thousands of Trump supporters violently storm the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, to support his baseless claims that he won the 2020 election. Photo: Michael Robinson Chavez/The Washington Post via Getty Images

A supporter of former President Trump who assaulted police officers during the Capitol riot on Jan. 6 was sentenced to more than five years in prison, one of the longest Jan. 6 sentences handed down yet, Politico reports.

The big picture: Mark Ponder was caught on camera repeatedly swinging and striking at police officers with a long pole, according to the FBI affidavit in his case. After it broke, he found another pole that was even longer and again beat officers with it.

  • While waiting for transport after he was detained, Ponder told other rioters: "When our country is being attacked with, like we are, we have a right to fight. … That is what the Second Amendment was built on," per the affidavit.

Driving the news: The Justice Department had asked for a five-year sentence for Ponder. District Judge Tanya Chutkan handed down five years and three months, per Politico.

  • Ponder, 56, in April pleaded guilty to assaulting, resisting or impeding officers using a dangerous weapon.
  • In interviews with the FBI, he described how "emotions were high" during the insurrection and how he believed "the election was stolen," per the DOJ.
  • He also "faulted the officers for their failure to join ranks with the rioters."

Zoom out: Axios' Cuneyt Dil reported in May that nearly 40% of Jan. 6 defendants sentenced have received prison time.

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