The federal government is calling for a stricter ruling for veterans who attacked the Capitol


For 27 years in the U.S. Army, Leonard Gruppo joined special forces, served in four war zones, led a team of medics in Iraq, and retired as Lieutenant Colonel in 2013.

For six minutes at the US Capitol on January 6, Gruppo joined many other military veterans, and a swarm of Trump riots launched an unparalleled attack on an American democratic fortress. He is one of the dozens of veterans and active soldiers charged in connection with the riots.

Cases like him now present a nasty question to consider when a federal judge decides on a veteran who has attacked the Capitol.

The Department of Justice has adopted the latter position. In at least five cases so far, prosecutors have cited mob military service as a factor in favor of imprisonment or house arrest. Prosecutors have repeatedly claimed that the service of veterans was commendable, but made their actions worse on January 6.

The participation of veterans in the riots was particularly shocking. Because some of them seem to have used the training they received in the US military against their government to prevent the change of power.Some veterans Far-right radicals in charge of planning coordinated attacks At the Capitol, including members of the Oath Keepers who climbed the Capitol stairs in a “stack” formation used by military pawns.

The prosecutor’s debate over the military service of the rioters did not upset one of the first judges to hear them at Gruppo’s trial last Friday.

“I don’t see his military service that way,” US District Court Judge Beryl Howell said before sentenced Gruppo to two years of probation, including 90 days of house arrest.

Prosecutors alleged that Gruppo’s military service upheld the Justice Department’s 30-day imprisonment recommendation. Assistant U .. S. Haba Miller said Gruppo, 56, of New Mexico, was aware of the obvious dangers in the Capitol and was trained to “support rather than harm.”

“But the fact that he was trained and that he deliberately overlooked his oath to do one of the most devastating acts against our constitution and our democracy. Affects the government’s view of his actions, “she said.

Defense lawyer Daniel Lindsey argued that his client’s service to the country should not be used against him. He said Gruppo initially disgraced military service and wanted to be quiet about military service.

“And he did,” Howell intervened. “Don’t chop up words.”

However, the judge said he was surprised at the Justice Department’s position because he believed that most Americans had “great respect” for Gruppo’s service.

“And that’s not just because I grew up in military bases around the world,” Howell added.

James Markham, a professor of public law and government at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said in most criminal cases, judges usually see defendants’ military service as a mitigation factor in favor of generosity. But he recognizes how the Department of Justice can conclude that rioters with military experience should be kept at a higher standard than rioters without it.

“Clearly not directly related to their military service, but someone who was a veteran or had military service could be considered to have a more sophisticated understanding of the importance of civilian control and election stability. It’s not completely conceptually irrelevant, “said Markham, a lawyer and an Air Force veteran.

More than 650 people were indicted in the attack on January 6.Some of the riots facing the most serious accusations, including A member of the far-right radical group, Has a military background. A handful of riot defendants are active and Hitler Mustache Army Reserve For his work at the naval base.

More than 100 riot defendants have pleaded guilty and pleaded guilty to misdemeanors, primarily punished by imprisonment for up to six months. As of Friday, 20 people have been sentenced. At least three of the convicted defendants are veterans, according to a review of court records by the Associated Press.

In September, Judge James Bosburg of the US District Court sentenced Air Force veteran Derek Yankart to 45 days in prison for participating in the riots. Prosecutors have asked Jancart, an Ohio steel worker, for four months in prison.

“He vowed to protect the country and instead took part in the attack on democracy itself,” said US assistant lawyer Leslie Gamemart.

Mr Yankart said he loved his country and was ashamed of his actions. The judge told Yankart that he respected his military service, especially his deployment in Afghanistan, but that was not the only factor to consider.

“You have worked with others to undermine one of our basic actions, a democratic post-election peaceful transition,” Boasberg said.

Another Air Force veteran, Thomas Binson, was sentenced to five years of probation from October 22nd. Prosecutors recommended Binson, a Kentucky resident who served in the Air Force from 1984 to 1988, under house arrest for three months.

Mr. Binson, who was sentenced to probation after his wife also entered the Capitol on January 6, told Judge Reggie Walton of the U.S. District Court that he had joined the army to love his country and protect it. Told.

“I brought that oath into the Constitution, and I know I broke that day’s oath by entering the building,” Vinson said.

At least two other rioters in the army will be sentenced within a few days.

Prosecutors recommended that Void Campers, who served in the US Marine Corps from 1987 to 1990, be sentenced to two months in prison. The Montana man told the FBI that he was on the “front line,” and prosecutors said the Capitol used a camera with an extension pole to record himself inside the building.

“His voluntary decision to attack a guarded government building is nothing less than shocking in light of his previous military service and training,” the prosecutor told Camper on October 12. I wrote it earlier.

The prosecution has been seeking house arrest for two months for Air Force veteran Jonathan Ace Sanders Sr., who will be sentenced on Thursday. According to prosecutors, the surveillance video shows a man in Indiana wearing a military vest while walking in the Capitol.

“As an Air Force veteran, Sanders was well aware of the great danger posed by mobs’ violent invasion of the Capitol,” the prosecutor wrote. “His repetitive claims that he did nothing wrong are unreliable — his career shows that he knew better.”