A former State Department employee who previously served as a U.S. Marine was just sentenced to serve several years in prison after he was earlier convicted for what federal prosecutors said he did during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot of 2021.
Federico Klein, 45, of Virginia, was given a 70-month prison sentence for repeatedly engaging in violence with police officers at the U.S. Capitol on that fateful day, according to the Washington Examiner.
It was reported that Klein, who previously held a top-secret security clearance, is the first member of former President Donald Trump's administration to be convicted and sentenced for his actions on Jan. 6.
The nearly six-year sentence that Klein received was less than the 10 years behind bars that federal prosecutors had recommended following his conviction on 12 assorted felonies and misdemeanors, per the Examiner.
These charges included knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted area, knowingly and intending to impede or disrupt government business, uttering loud, threatening or abusive language on Capitol grounds, engaging in physical violence on Capitol grounds, impeding a government proceeding, and six counts of assaulting or impeding officers.
A Department of Justice press release announced that in addition to 70 months in prison, Klein was also sentenced to serve 24 months of supervised release and to pay $5,000 for a fine and restitution.
According to prosecutors, Klein was engaged in some of the fiercest fighting with law enforcement that occurred in and around the Lower West Terrace Tunnel entrance of the Capitol building for more than an hour, where he was said to have used a stolen riot shield to wedge open a door to the tunnel and to have used another stolen riot shield to repeatedly push against police lines.
The Associated Press reported that Klein, who was arrested in March 2021, did not testify during his jury-less trial earlier this year in July in the court of U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden and also declined an opportunity to address the court during his sentencing hearing on Friday.
McFadden told Klein, "Your actions on January 6th were shocking and egregious." The judge further stated that Klein's actions "prolonged the mayhem" at the Capitol and that he had been "front and center in that chaos."
Klein was accused by prosecutors of having "waged a relentless siege on police officers" for control of the vital tunnel entrance, of using stolen riot shields to wedge open a door and to push against the police line in multiple attempts to break through into the Capitol, and of encouraging others to similarly engage in violence against law enforcement officers.
According to the AP, Klein served for around nine years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed at least once to Iraq in 2005 as a combat engineer before later joining the Trump administration in 2017, where he worked in the State Department's Office of Brazilian and Southern Cone Affairs until his resignation just one day before former President Trump left office.
Prosecutors argued that Klein had likely been motivated to participate in the riot by a desire to keep his federal job, and wrote 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."
In response to the serious allegations against him, Klein's defense attorney, Stanley Woodward, disputed the purported extent of his client's criminal behavior and said prosecutors had exaggerated Klein's activities during the Capitol riot due to his being a member of the Trump administration at that time.
The attorney told the court, "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."