A former D.C. bartender and alleged Proud Boy who marched through the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 was sentenced to 55 months in federal prison on Monday.
Joshua Pruitt, 40, pleaded guilty in June to obstruction of an official proceeding after he was caught on video pursuing police officers and smashing a sign inside the U.S. Capitol.
According to federal prosecutors, Pruitt was one of the few Capitol rioters to come face-to-face with a member of Congress on J6.
Authorities say he encountered Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer as his armed security detail led the New York Democrat down a hallway.
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“One look at Pruitt, and the leader of Senator Schumer’s security detail immediately saw the threat and hustled the 70-year-old senator down a hallway, having to change their evacuation route on a dime,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexis Loeb wrote in a court filing ahead of Monday’s hearing.
J6 defendant Joshua Pruitt sentenced to four years and seven months behind barshttps://t.co/f6cBVhjBNI
— Citizen Free Press (@CitizenFreePres) August 29, 2022
NY 1 reported:
U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly sentenced Pruitt to four years and seven months of imprisonment followed by three years of supervised release, according to Bill Miller, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office for the District of Columbia.
Prosecutors had recommended a five-year prison sentence for Pruitt, a Silver Spring, Maryland, resident who has worked as a bartender and personal trainer. They described him as an aspiring Proud Boys member whose intimidating figure made him an “ideal recruit” for the group on Jan. 6.
The leader of Schumer’s security detail told the FBI that their encounter with Pruitt was a harrowing, unforgettable moment. Pruitt was advancing and only seconds from reaching Schumer when the security detail turned and ran with the senator away from an elevator and back down a ramp, detail members said.
“At the end of the ramp, officers closed and locked the doors. The security detail and (Schumer) pursued a secondary evacuation route. Once the doors were being closed, Pruitt turned around and retraced his steps,” Loeb wrote.
Pruitt apologized for his actions on J6 but he refused to change his belief that Joe Biden stole the 2020 election from Donald Trump.
NBC News writes:
Pruitt said that he apologized for his actions and that he was “not happy that Jan. 6 happened at all,” but he said he still held onto his beliefs that Donald Trump actually won the election, which he lost to President Joe Biden. “I did believe the election was stolen. I still do,” Pruitt said, speaking from a lectern farther away from the judge than usual, which was set up for defendants who aren’t vaccinated against Covid.
“I broke the law, bottom line, regardless of whether I’m right or wrong on my feelings,” Pruitt said.
Robert Lee Jenkins Jr., a court-appointed attorney for Pruitt, said outside the courtroom that there was no convincing Pruitt otherwise.
“We’ve had many conversations about it, and Mr. Pruitt is firm in his belief,” Jenkins said in response to a question from NBC News. Jenkins said Pruitt’s family was “extremely dismayed” that Pruitt had gotten himself involved in the riot on Jan. 6, 2021.
You can read more about his case at American Gulag.