A retired NYPD cop who was convicted of attacking a police officer at the U.S. Capitol insurrection in 2021 was sentenced Thursday to 10 years in prison — the longest penalty yet for anyone convicted in connection with the siege.
Prosecutors said Thomas Webster, who also served in the Marines, swung a flagpole at police before tackling one officer and yanking his gas mask off during the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021.
Authorities said Webster, 56, received the longest sentence handed down among the nearly 250 people sentenced so far for their roles in the insurrection.
He also received three years of supervised release.
U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta allowed Webster to report to prison at a date to be determined instead of immediately ordering him into custody.
“Mr. Webster, I don’t think you’re a bad person,” Mehta said. “I think you were caught up in a moment. But as you know, even getting caught up in a moment has consequences.”
Webster, a 20-year NYPD veteran, was the first Capitol riot defendant to be tried on an assault charge and the first to present a self-defense argument.
A federal jury rejected Webster’s claim that he was defending himself when he tackled Metropolitan Police Department officer Noah Rathbun, grabbed his gas mask and called him a “motherf----r.”
Rathbun was in the courtroom, but he did not address the judge. Webster said he wished he had never come to Washington.
“I wish the horrible events of that day had never happened,” he told the judge.
The judge said Rathbun wasn’t Webster’s only victim.
“The other victim was democracy, and that is not something that can be taken lightly,” Mehta added.
Federal prosecutors had recommended a prison sentence of 17 years and six months.
“Nothing can explain or justify Mr. Webster’s rage,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Hava Mirel. “Nothing can explain or justify his violence.”
Meanwhile, a New Jersey man pleaded guilty to using pepper spray on police officers, including one who later died.
Officer Brian Sicknick suffered a stroke the day after the riot and died of natural causes. He and other officers were standing guard behind metal bicycle racks as the mob of pro-Trump supporters stormed the Capitol.
Julian Khater, 33, pleaded guilty to two counts of assaulting or impeding officers with a dangerous weapon. He could face up to 20 years in prison.
Prosecutors said he joined a group of Donald Trump-supporting rioters pushing against a police line that was attempting to limit the crowd’s access to the Capitol, where lawmakers were meeting to certify the election win of Joe Biden as president.
With News Wire Services