Former NYPD officer Thomas Webster gets 10-year sentence for January 6 crimes

Sentence is the longest so far for anyone connected to the 2021 attack on the US Capitol

This still image captures former NYPD officer Thomas Webster, in a red jacket, at a barricade line on the west front of the US Capitol on January 6, 2021. AP
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A former officer with the New York Police Department was sentenced on Thursday to 10 years in prison for his role in the 2021 attack on the US Capitol, the longest sentence yet for a January 6 case.

Thomas Webster was convicted in May on numerous charges in connection to the riot, including assaulting officers and violent and disorderly conduct on US Capitol grounds, CBS News reported.

A jury in Washington rejected arguments that Webster, a former marine, acted in self-defence when he attacked Metropolitan Police Department officer Noah Rathbun.

Officer Rathbun's body camera captured Webster hurling profanities before making physical contact.

Webster wore a bulletproof vest and carried a US Marine Corps flag when he and other rioters stormed the Capitol.

“I, too, wish you hadn't come to Washington, DC," DC Federal Judge Amit Mehta said, as reported by CBS News, when he delivered the sentencing.

"I, too, wish you had stayed at home in New York … that you had not come out to the Capitol that day, because all of us would be far better off. Not just you … your family … the country."

Webster was handed a sentence of 120 months in prison and 36 months of supervised release.

Prosecutors had asked for a 17-year jail term.

The Department of Justice, before Thursday's hearing, argued that Webster had “spearheaded” a breach of the police line protecting the Capitol building.

In a court filing, prosecutors accused him of “disgracing a democracy that he once fought honourably to protect and serve”.

“Each individual attack on an officer at the West Plaza weakened the defensive line, fuelled the crowd and brought the rioters one step closer towards disrupting our democracy,” they wrote.

Before his sentencing, Webster blamed former president Donald Trump for “despicable lies” and disavowed his claims of election fraud.

Webster's sentencing came hours before President Joe Biden was scheduled to address the state of US democracy and call out Mr Trump during a primetime address. The White House said the Democratic president believes the country's democracy is at stake during the 2022 midterm elections.

Earlier on Thursday, a lawyer for the far-right group Oath Keepers was arrested and charged with conspiracy to corrupt the congressional January 6 probe, obstruction of an official proceeding and obstruction of justice for document tampering.

Kellye SoRelle also faces misdemeanour charges for trespassing on Capitol Grounds, prosecutors said.

Updated: September 01, 2022, 10:00 PM