More-than-5-year prison term matches longest for Capitol riot

by | Jul 26, 2022 | World

A man who attacked police officers with poles during the riot at the US Capitol was sentenced on Tuesday to more than five years in prison, matching the longest term of imprisonment so far among hundreds of Capitol riot prosecutions.Mark Ponder, a 56-year-old resident of Washington, DC, said he “got caught up” in the chaos that erupted on January 6, 2021, and “didn’t mean for any of this to happen”.
“I wasn’t thinking that day,” Ponder told US District Judge Tanya Chutkan, asking her for mercy before she sentenced him to five years and three months in prison.
That was three months longer than the prison sentence requested by prosecutors. And it is the same sentence that Chutkan gave Robert Palmer, a Florida man who also pleaded guilty to assaulting police at the Capitol.
More than 200 other Capitol riot defendants have been sentenced so far. None received a longer prison sentence than Ponder or Palmer.
Chutkan said Ponder was “leading the charge” against police officers trying to hold off the mob that disrupted Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s electoral victory.
“This is not ‘caught up’, Mr Ponder,” she said. “He was intent on attacking and injuring police officers. This was not a protest.”
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Chutkan has consistently taken a hard line in punishing Capitol rioters. She has handed down terms of imprisonment to all 13 riot defendants who have come before her, mat …

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