Capitol riot defendant catches 'break' from Trump-appointed judge, receives probation and home confinement instead of prison term

July 11, 2023
Ben Marquis

A young man who was at the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021, has finally been sentenced for his alleged criminal involvement in the unrest, and some in the media are not happy with the punishment that was given.

Tyler Bensch, who was 19 at the time of the Capitol riot, received a "break" on Friday when sentenced by a federal judge who'd been appointed to the bench by former President Donald Trump, NBC News reported.

Bensch, who'd previously pleaded guilty to a pair of misdemeanor offenses, was sentenced by District Judge Trevor McFadden to two years of probation and 60 days of home confinement -- far less than the nine months in federal prison that prosecutors had asked for.

Arrested and charged with misdemeanors related to Capitol riot

In an August 2022 news release, the Justice Department announced that Bensch had been arrested along with four other members of a Florida-based militia group known as the "B Squad," which was affiliated with the larger national "Three Percenters" militia movement.

However, unlike the other four who faced felony charges for allegedly attacking police officers during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, Bensch was only charged with two misdemeanor counts of "entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds and disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds."

That said, the release noted that Bensch had been dressed in militia gear during the riot -- including a tactical vest, military-style helmet with goggles, gas mask, and a chemical irritant -- and though he is not alleged to have engaged in any sort of violence against the police, he was accused of using the chemical irritant, identified as bear spray, on a fellow rioter for an unknown reason.

Defendant catches "break" from judge due to age, lack of criminal history

Per the NBC News report, Judge McFadden told Bensch during the Friday sentencing hearing, "You participated in a national embarrassment," and that "You came ready for trouble."

Yet, the judge also acknowledged that Bensch's participation in the unrest was "pretty minor," and as such, told the defendant, "I am giving you this break because of your age" and lack of any prior criminal history, and further suggested, "This doesn’t need to define you or your life."

Bensch, who had actually pleaded guilty to the misdemeanors of disorderly and disruptive conduct as well as theft of government property -- he was accused of taking a police shield off Capitol grounds -- didn't speak at all during the hearing and instead let his court-appointed defense attorney, Peter Cooper, speak on his behalf.

The attorney said that his client "didn't have the maturity to understand what he was getting into" and "carries great remorse for what he did that day" in relation to the Capitol riot, and further professed that Bensch still hoped to eventually pursue a career in law enforcement despite the criminal conviction now on his record.

Arrest prompted objections from FBI whistleblower

Interestingly enough, NBC News also reported that the August 2022 arrest of Bensch was the final straw that compelled former FBI agent Steven Friend to depart the bureau and become a whistleblower who has gone on to allege rampant political bias and misconduct within FBI leadership.

According to the New York Post in September 2022, Friend alleged that he had faced retaliation when he refused to go on a SWAT raid to arrest Bensch on the pair of misdemeanors he had initially been charged with, as he viewed it as an "overzealous" and unnecessary use of excessive force -- something the 12-year veteran alleged was widespread with regard to numerous other Jan. 6 defendants.

For complaining and raising objections about the SWAT raid to arrest Bensch, the former agent alleged that he was repeatedly threatened, stripped of his security clearance, and ultimately suspended and forced to turn in his badge and gun.

Friend has also alleged that he was pulled from active investigations into child sex trafficking and reassigned to Jan. 6 cases, that the FBI is "manipulating" cases to make it appear as though "domestic terrorism" and "white supremacy" are greater threats than they actually are, and that the rights of innocent Americans were being routinely violated by the FBI, among other things.

Latest News

© 2023 - Patriot News Alerts