Justice Department via AP
- A Kentucky man with 38 prior convictions received the longest January 6 sentence yet on Friday.
- A judge sentenced Peter Schwartz to fourteen years in prison.
- Prosecutors said Schwartz used stolen police pepper spray to attack officers several times that day.
A Kentucky Capitol rioter with a rap sheet 38 convictions in length was sentenced Friday to more than 14 months in prison — the longest sentence yet of any January 6 insurrectionist — after being found guilty of attacking police officers with pepper spray and a chair.
Judges have handed down hundreds of sentences to January 6, 2021 riot participants in the more than two years since a mob of Trump supporters laid siege to the US Capitol, but rioter Peter Schwartz set a new record this month when US District Judge Amit Mehta sentenced him to 14 years and two months, as well as three years of supervised release, and a hefty fine for his role in the attack.
Mehta also sentenced the rioter who previously held the record for longest January 6 defendant sentence, which was 10 years for a retired New York Police Department officer who attacked officers during the assault.
A jury convicted Schwartz, 49, of multiple counts related to his role in the January 6 2021 riot in December, including several counts of assault with a dangerous weapon, one count of interfering with law enforcement officers, and one count of obstruction, among others.
Prosecutors had asked for a whopping 24 years and six months, but Mehta said in court on Friday that the ask was overly-punitive, according to WUSA. Schwartz’s lawyer, meanwhile, requested four-and-a-half years, arguing that his client’s behavior that day was informed by a “misunderstanding” of the 2020 presidential election.
Dennis Boyle, an attorney for Schwartz, said they will be appealing both the conviction and the sentence.
“Although we are pleased that the court found both the guidelines calculation and the government’s requested sentence of more than 24 years unreasonable, we believe that the 14-year sentence was too long,” he told Insider.
Schwartz, alongside his then-wife, Shelly Stallings, traveled to DC ahead of January 6, 2021, to attend the riot, “intent on violence,” prosecutors wrote. During the attack, Schwartz stole chemical irritants, including pepper spray that was abandoned by police officers during the chaos, and then used it to attack authorities multiple times that day.
Stallings pleaded guilty to several charges, including assaulting officers, in August and was sentenced to two years in prison last month.
Schwartz spoke briefly during his sentencing hearing on Friday, according to the Associated Press, expressing his “sincere regret” for the damage done on January 6, 2021.
But Mehta wasn’t buying it.
“You were on a warfront,” the judge said, according to reports. “You were a soldier against democracy.”
Prosecutors said Schwartz boasted about his role in the riot, even claiming that he threw the first chair that broke the police line and allowed rioters to overwhelm the building.
“You took it upon yourself to try and injure multiple police officers that day,” Mehta said in court on Friday.
Schwartz was on probation when he took to the Capitol on January 6, 2021, according to the AP, stemming from one of his “jaw-dropping” 38 prior convictions since 1991, prosecutors said.