A former New York City Police officer and US Marine veteran, Thomas Webster, was sentenced to ten years this week for his role in the January 6, 2021 attack on the United States Capitol.
Webster, a 56-year old resident of Goshen, New York, was sentenced on Thursday to ten years in federal prison for the felony assault of an officer and three other felony charges. The sentence is the longest one handed down to any January 6 participant so far.
Webster was the first of the defendants who had been charged with a felony to go to trial in front of a jury, which deliberated for three hours before delivering a guilty verdict in May.
The prosecution original sought a sentence of 17 years, but Judge Amit P. Mehta disagreed, saying it would not line up with sentences previously given to Capitol attackers. Before Webster was sentenced this week, the longest sentence for a January 6 attacker was a little over seven years, given to 49-year old Guy Wesley Reffitt from Wylie, Texas.
Webster attempted to argue he was acting in self-defense when he attacked DC Police Officer Noah Rathbun, pulling his gas mask off and exposing him to pepper spray. Video evidence also shows Thomas attempting to strike Rathbun with a flagpole, hitting a bike rack instead.
The judge dismissed Thomas’ self-defense argument, saying he had watched the video evidence repeatedly, and it was clear, “You [Mr. Webster] are the first aggressor. … It was an intact police line. It’s not until your actions, Mr. Webster, that all hell broke loose. It’s your actions that open up the police line and let people through.”
According to federal sentencing guidelines, Webster could have been subject to the full seventeen years the prosecution was seeking, but the judge adjusted his sentence for time served in the Marines as well as the NYPD.
ARTICLE: LAURA SPIVAK
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: NEW YORK TIMES
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