New Jersey resident Scott Fairlamb, who assaulted police at the Capitol amid the mob attack on the premises in January, has been sentenced to 41 months in prison after he pleaded guilty to a pair of felony offenses, including assaulting law enforcement and obstruction of an official proceeding. As summarized by The Washington Post on Wednesday, Fairlamb “was captured on various videos screaming profanely in support of the pro-Trump insurrection, climbing on the inauguration scaffolding outside the Capitol, and then pushing an officer into a group of people and punching the officer’s face shield, as well as briefly entering and exiting the Capitol.”
Prosecutors had sought a 44-month sentence for Fairlamb, with federal guidelines laying out a range of 41 to 51 months. Federal Judge Royce Lamberth, who handled the sentencing, went with the lower end of the guidelines (although he had the freedom to go outside of them). As of his sentencing, Fairlamb’s punishment was the strictest doled out to any of the Capitol rioters, although he was the first individual to be sentenced in connection to a charge of assaulting police — so, additional harsh sentences are no doubt on the horizon for certain defendants. Notably, Fairlamb’s attorney has said at one point that he “did, in fact, feel as if he had been duped by social media prior to Jan. 6” — and while that’s certainly no excuse for his actions, it does point to the role that Trump and other right-wing provocateurs held in cultivating the violence that descended upon the Capitol that day.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Leslie Goemaat observed during proceedings ahead of Fairlamb’s sentencing that it was “just critical that the court’s sentence convey to future rioters that there will be very, very serious consequences for those who intend to obstruct the rule of law and obstruct democracy, particularly through assaults on law enforcement.” Lamberth himself added that Fairlamb’s actions constituted “such a serious offense under the circumstances, an affront to society and to the law, to have the Capitol overrun and to have this riot stop the whole functioning government, that I just find that it’s such a serious crime that I cannot give a below-guideline sentence.”
Over 210 of the more than 675 rioters and counting who’ve been charged with federal criminal offenses have been accused of assaulting police, with reams of supporting evidence from the well-documented event. Fairlamb himself posted footage on social media from amid the riot crowd, and he also put selfies up. Specifically, as mentioned above, Fairlamb punched an officer in their face shield at one point — so what exactly did he think was going to happen after perpetrating such violence?