Texas resident Matthew Mazzocco has been sentenced to 45 days in prison after pleading guilty to a federal criminal charge related to his participation in the January riot at the Capitol. Notably, federal prosecutors hadn’t even asked federal Judge Tanya Chutkan, who was handling the case, to impose jail time — instead, prosecutors were seeking three months of home confinement. Chutkan used her discretion as a judge to nevertheless order a stint in prison for Mazzocco, who pleaded guilty to a single count of parading, demonstrating, or picketing in the Capitol.
Chutkan commented in part as follows regarding the defendant’s sentencing:
‘There have to be consequences for participating in an attempted violent overthrow of the government beyond sitting at home… The country is watching to see what the consequences are for something that has not ever happened in the history of this country before. For actions and crimes that threaten to undermine the rule of law and our democracy.’
Chutkan on need for deterrence: "The country is watching to see what the consequences are for something that has not ever happened in the history of this country before. For actions and crimes that threaten to undermine the rule of law and our democracy."
— Zoe Tillman (@ZoeTillman) October 4, 2021
Chutkan also noted how, rather than patriotism underlying his actions, Mazzocco “went there to support one man… in total disregard of a lawfully conducted election.” Before entering the Capitol in January, Mazzocco posted a selfie of himself outside of the building on Facebook, writing “The capital is ours!”, but when facing the threat of jail time — a possibility that has now been made real — he began to show remorse for his actions. In a letter read on his behalf during Monday’s proceedings where Chutkan handed down that sentence, he said that he “need[ed] to apologize to the court, to the United States government, [his] family, and the people of Washington, DC.” He also said that his “decision to enter into the Capitol was one of the most foolish and impulsive decisions” that he’s ever “made in [his] life.”
Even if unintentionally, Chutkan directly refuted comments from Trump himself during Monday’s proceedings. Chutkan noted how what took place at the Capitol was “no mere protest,” contradicting the former president’s assertion that Americans’ “hearts and minds are with the people being persecuted so unfairly relating to the January 6th protest concerning the Rigged Presidential Election.” Obviously, calling what happened at the Capitol a mere protest is flat-out ridiculous, but beyond that, Trump’s comments also reveal the former commander-in-chief’s troubling willingness to openly accept political violence. Read more on Mazzocco’s case in the thread at this link from reporter Zoe Tillman.