Daniel Caldwell, a veteran of the Marines who participated in last year’s Trump-incited assault on the Capitol, where he used a chemical irritant against over a dozen officers helping with the defense of the premises in the area of the Lower West Terrace, was sentenced Wednesday to over five and a half years in prison.
His exact sentence was 68 months. The assault Caldwell perpetrated evidently took place a little before rioters first breached the building itself elsewhere, and details about what happened spotlighted at his sentencing hearing this week by federal Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly include that one of the police officers affected by the chemical spray began to vomit “uncontrollably.” Caldwell, who pleaded guilty late last year to a federal criminal charge of assaulting officers with a dangerous weapon, expressed remorse for his actions in court this week, reportedly tearing up throughout the statements he offered. “Caldwell’s hearing was most notable for the extensive expression of remorse, delivered almost entirely through tears, to a nearly empty courtroom,” POLITICO reported on Wednesday.
According to the same outlet, Caldwell has been in custody since February 2021. Even with credit for time served, Caldwell would still have more than half of his sentence to fulfill, assuming its length is maintained. During this week’s proceedings, Kollar-Kotelly repeatedly described what he did in serious terms and spoke of how the sentence she imposed could help with a deterring effect against those who may commit similar acts. “You’re entitled to your political views but not to an insurrection,” Kollar-Kotelly told the Texas defendant. “You were an insurrectionist.”
In Caldwell’s remarks in court, he outlined some of the elements of his personal life that were affected and could be further upended by his time in custody. He noted that his biological mother died while he’s been in custody and his father has cancer. “Knowing their pain is crushing my heart,” he added, in reference to his family. “I have paid a high price, and I accept that I still have to pay more.”
Other veterans, in addition to active-duty members of the military, have also been arrested for participating in the Capitol riot. New arrests are also continuing, well over two years since the violence originally took place. Just on February 1, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Washington, D.C., posted four press releases summarizing a series of new arrests. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) used one of her first public appearances in her new role on the House Oversight Committee to complain this week about the death of Capitol rioter Ashli Babbitt and the government’s handling of those who prosecutors have charged, particularly the defendants put into pretrial detention.