Former Trump appointee sentenced to 70 months in prison for violent assaults against police during Jan. 6 Capitol riot

November 5, 2023
Ben Marquis

A former Trump administration State Department appointee was just sentenced to prison after being found guilty of engaging in violence against law enforcement and other criminal acts during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot in 2021.

Federico Klein, 45, a U.S. Marine veteran from Virginia, was ordered by a federal judge on Friday to serve a nearly six-year prison sentence for his repeated violent assaults against police officers at the U.S. Capitol building on that fateful day, the Associated Press reported.

In addition to 70 months behind bars, Klein was also sentenced to serve an additional 24 months of supervised release and to pay a $3,000 fine plus $2,000 in restitution by D.C. District Judge Trevor McFadden.

Trump appointee convicted of violently assaulting law enforcement

According to a Justice Department press release, Klein was convicted in July on 12 counts, including eight felonies and four misdemeanors, related to his participation in the hours-long violent struggle between rioters and police officers guarding the Lower West Terrace Tunnel entrance to the Capitol building.

Klein is reported to have repeatedly assaulted law enforcement in multiple efforts to break through the security lines, at times using a stolen police riot shield to push and strike officers, and at one point using a stolen shield to wedge open a door and prevent the police from closing off the tunnel entrance.

He was also said to have encouraged and incited others at the protest-turned-riot to similarly engage in violent assaults against law enforcement personnel.

Prosecutors demanded 10 years in prison, defense requested only time already served

Politico reported that prosecutors had asked Judge McFadden to sentence Klein to 10 years in prison, in part due to his violent acts but also because he had purportedly shared details of the Capitol building's layout and congressional proceedings with other rioters who were intent on stopping the certification of President Joe Biden's victory that was ongoing at the time.

The prosecutors also noted that Klein was a fervent believer that the 2020 election had been stolen, had taken time off from work to travel to Nevada in search of evidence of election fraud, and had expressed to others his belief that the Jan. 6 congressional proceeding was the "last chance" to reverse things and allow President Donald Trump to remain in office.

The AP noted that prosecutors further argued that Klein was also likely partially motivated by a desire to keep his job at the State Department, and said in a filing, "As an employee of the federal government, Klein was endowed with the trust of the American people and to uphold the law. He violated that trust on January 6 when he attacked the very country for which he was paid to work."

On the other hand, according to Politico, Klein's defense attorney, Stanley Woodward, asked the court to only sentence his client to 40 days in jail -- equivalent to the amount of time he was held in pretrial custody after he was arrested in March 2021 -- and argued that prosecutors had overblown Klein's actual involvement in the violence that occurred during the Capitol riot.

The attorney said in a filing, per the AP, "Accordingly, Mr. Klein should be sentenced for his actual role in the events of the day, and not the more egregious conduct of others with which the government would have Mr. Klein be found guilty by association."

Judge said Jan. 6 actions were "shocking and egregious"

According to the AP, Klein served nine years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq in 2005 before working on former President Trump's 2016 campaign and then joining Trump's State Department in 2017 as an appointee assigned to work on South American issues, a job from which he resigned one day prior to President Biden's inauguration.

During the sentencing hearing, Judge McFadden told Klein, "Your actions on January 6th were shocking and egregious," that what he had done had "prolonged the mayhem" in the violent tunnel entrance fighting, and that "You were front and center in that chaos" that occurred.

Klein, who did not testify during his jury-less bench trial and declined an opportunity to address the court during his sentencing hearing, will be ordered to report to prison to begin serving his sentence at an unspecified later date.

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