WASHINGTON — A federal judge sentenced a Maryland man who wore a “Proud Boys” hat while livestreaming himself storming the U.S. Capitol on Friday to three months of home confinement.
Andrew Ryan Bennett, of Columbia, Maryland, appeared before U.S. District Judge James Boasberg for his sentencing hearing on one misdemeanor count of parading, demonstrating or picketing a Capitol building.
Bennett was arrested in January after federal investigators say they received multiple tips alerting them to four videos Bennett had livestreamed on his Facebook page. The videos appeared to show him wearing a baseball hat with a Proud Boys motto on it while joining in chants of “break it down” during the Capitol riot. Court documents indicate Bennett may have been streaming nearby when Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt was shot and killed during an attempt to breach the Speaker’s Lobby.
A search warrant was executed on Bennett's house on Jan. 11. The affidavit says that Bennett admitted to federal agents during an interview that he was inside the Capitol on Jan. 6 and even called it "wrong."
Bennett pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count in July. Before his sentencing Friday, he again stressed to the judge that he was sorry for what happened on January 6.
“I’d like to apologize to you and the country for entering the Capitol,” Bennett said. “I was not thinking clearly, pumped up on adrenaline as I was. What I did was wrong and I hold myself accountable for my actions.”
The Justice Department asked Boasberg to sentence Bennett to three months of home confinement. Though he ultimately did so, he first wanted to know why the department wasn’t asking for jail time like it had for two other misdemeanor defendants, Derek Jancart and Erik Rau, Boasberg had sentenced on Wednesday. The DOJ said Bennett had not expressed violent rhetoric and had actually tried to stop other rioters from attacking police.
“That’s a very significant distinction,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Seth Meinero said.
Boasberg said he “very rarely” goes above the sentences requested by the government, and wasn’t going to do so here, but added that if the DOJ had asked for jail time for Bennett, he likely would have agreed to that. Since they did not, however, he sentenced Bennett to two years of probation, with the first three months to be served on home confinement. Bennett will also have to complete 80 hours of community service and pay $500 in restitution for damage to the Capitol Building.
In addition to Bennett, another Capitol riot defendant, Danielle Doyle, was also sentenced Friday for her role in January 6. U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden sentenced Doyle to two months of probation and a $3,000 fine, in addition to $500 restitution for the damage to the U.S. Capitol Building.
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