Rivett, recruited into a right-wing militia known as the Three Percenters, was the first capitol troublemaker to be tried rather than get a plea agreement.
“Mr Rivette’s reluctance to admit early on that his conduct was unlawful is troubling,” District Judge Dabney Friedrich said before handing the 87-month prison sentence. “And I want to be very clear…under what legitimate definition of the term ‘patriot’ (not) Mr. Rivette’s behavior fits with the term and about January 6. It is the opposite of the word.”
Friedrich added: “Officers in the Capitol are patriots, as are those who fought and even died to protect our democracy and our rule of law…are a direct threat to our democracy and we will be punished as such.”
Rivett was convicted by a DC jury in March of five felonies, including transporting and carrying a firearm on the Capitol, interfering with Capitol police and obstructing official proceedings. He had driven into the capital with several firearms, one of which he carried with him to the steps of the Capitol during the early hours of the riots.
“I just want to see Pelosi’s head hitting every staircase on his way out…and so does (Republican leader) Mitch McConnell,” Rivett said, according to a video he filmed on January 6.
The massive ruling, paired with the fact that every January 6 defendant facing a jury is found guilty, could deter some January 6 defendants awaiting trial from accepting plea deals offered by the Justice Department instead.
The 87-month prison sentence is two years longer than any other prison sentence for rioting at the Capitol issued so far.
Rivette had been adamant in previous hearings that he be the first defendant on January 6 to take his case to trial. But on Monday, in a plea for leniency before sentencing, he said he was an “idiot” who was chanting “the Founding Fathers and stupid like this” around January 6, and that he doubled down on that speech to “make money” for his family during his legal battle.
“You seem to want to be the big guy, the big guy, the first person to go on trial… the first guy out there, enjoying the press,” Friedrich told Rivett. “You want to be a significant person who makes a difference, and yet you’re doing it all the wrong ways.”
My exact point, your honor, said Rivett.
Rivett’s wife and two daughters were in the courtroom when the verdict was handed down. Peyton, Rivett’s youngest daughter, told the judge that her father “is not a threat to my family”, and that her family “turned a blind eye” to his mental health issues.
“My dad’s name wasn’t on all the flags that were out there that day, that everybody had that day. He’s not the captain,” Peyton said, sometimes crying with her hand over her heart.
The mother of Ashley Babbitt, the pro-Trump hooligan who was shot dead by police on January 6, was in the courtroom occasionally on Monday.
And Jackson, Rivett’s son, who testified against his father during the trial, was not in the courtroom. In a statement that prosecutors read aloud, Jackson said his father had “slowly lost himself over the past five years,” but “whether you look at him as a father, family member or friend, using these designations to justify anything he’s done is completely wrong.”
Prosecutors had sought a sentence of nearly ten years longer than the harshest sentence to date by adding heavy penalties to his sentence for terrorism charges. Attorney General Jeffrey Nestler told the judge that Revitt “wanted to physically and effectively remove members of Congress from power” and that the government believed “what he was doing that day was terror.”
“We believe he is a domestic terrorist,” Nestle said Monday.
But Frederick did not add additional penalties for terrorism, saying it would create an “unjustified contrast” between Rivette’s sentence and that of other convicted troublemakers of bringing weapons or threatening lawmakers.
This story has been updated with additional details.
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