WASHINGTON — A New York CPA will serve three years of probation for his role in the Capitol riot after his attorney told a federal judge January 6 had become a “redemption story” for him.
Justin McAuliffe, of Long Island, appeared before U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth on Friday afternoon to learn whether he would spend time behind bars for entering the U.S. Capitol Building as part of a pro-Trump mob. The Justice Department asked Lamberth to sentence McAuliffe to a split sentence of 14 days in prison and three years of probation.
Lamberth, who presided over the very first sentencing in any Capitol riot case – that of Anna Morgan-Lloyd, of Indiana – said he thought the public perceived judges as being too lenient on Capitol riot misdemeanor cases.
“And I don’t disagree with the public,” he added.
But Lamberth was persuaded by the picture attorney Richard D. Collins painted of his client: a picture of a man who had lost his job and nearly his family because of his role in the riot. Collins said McAuliffe, unlike other defendants who appeared before judges with “crocodile tears,” had spent the last year in genuine reflection over the decisions that led him to the Capitol.
In his sentencing memo, Collins laid out a string of minor misfortunes that had befallen McAullife. He’d been banned from Airbnb and driving for Lyft, Collins said, and had lost his enrollment in the TSA precheck program. But in court, Collins focused on McAuliffe’s work to reconcile with his wife – who filed for separation after the riot – and to rebuild trust with his CPA clients. Collins added McAuliffe would be playing the role of “Mr. Mom” for the remainder of the school year until he and his children reconnect with his wife, who relocated to Arizona for a job.
“Judge, this is ultimately a story of redemption,” Collins said.
Lamberth – who made a point to tell McAuliffe probation “only comes once in a lifetime” in his courtroom – was convinced to sentence McAullife to 60 days of home detention and 36 months of probation. McAullife will be under social media restrictions during that term, and will be required to pay $500 in restitution to the Architect of the Capitol.
Because of his conviction of a federal misdemeanor, Collins said McAuliffe could still face a challenge to his CPA license in the state of New York.
As of Friday, more than 200 defendants had pleaded guilty to charges in connection with the January 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol. Those cases include at least 20 felony defendants, including former U.S. Army private Nicholas Languerand, who was sentenced on Wednesday to more than 3 years in prison.
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