Conservative Activist's Son Sentenced To Nearly 4 Years In Prison For 'rElentless' Attack On Capitol

FILE - Violent insurrectionists loyal to then-President Donald Trump try to break through a police barrier, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, at the Capitol in Washington. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)
FILE - Violent insurrectionists loyal to then-President Donald Trump try to break through a police barrier, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, at the Capitol in Washington. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — A prominent conservative activist's son was sentenced on Friday to nearly four years in prison for what prosecutors said was his “relentless” assault on the U.S. Capitol, where he smashed a window, chased a police officer and invaded the Senate floor.

Leo Brent Bozell IV, 44, of Palmyra, Pennsylvania, was one of the first rioters to enter the Capitol and among the first to reach the Senate floor during the Jan. 6, 2021, siege.

Bozell's father, L. Brent Bozell III, founded the Media Research Center, the Parents Television Council and other conservative media organizations.

The younger Bozell turned to apologize to two Capitol police officers sitting in the courtroom gallery before U.S. District Judge John Bates sentenced him to three years and nine months behind bars. He also told his parents and wife that he has “put a stain on my family forever.”

“I don't recognize that person in the videos," he said. “I don't know what I was thinking.”

Bates said storming the Capitol wasn't a spontaneous act for Bozell. He had made plans to go to the Capitol on Jan. 6 and anticipated violence that day, the judge noted.

“You had plenty of chances to stop doing what you were doing,” the judge said.

Prosecutors recommended a prison sentence of 11 years and eight months for Bozell. They said he mounted “relentless and sustained attacks” on law enforcement as he joined or led other rioters in breaking through police lines at several locations inside and outside the Capitol.

“There are few rioters on January 6 who were involved in as many pivotal breaches as Bozell,” prosecutors wrote.

The judge allowed Bozell to remain free until he must report to prison at a date to be determined. Bozell thanked the judge after learning his sentence.

Bozell was arrested in February 2021. An FBI tipster who identified Bozell recognized him in part from the “Hershey Christian Academy” sweatshirt that he wore on Jan. 6.

Bates heard testimony without a jury before convicting Bozell of 10 charges, including obstructing the Jan. 6 joint session of Congress for certifying President Joe Biden's 2020 electoral victory.

After then-President Donald Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally near the White House on Jan. 6, Bozell marched to the Capitol and joined a mob in breaking through a police line.

Bozell used a metal object to shatter the windowpane of the Senate Wing Door. After climbing through the smashed window, Bozell joined other rioters in chasing a Capitol Police officer, Eugene Goodman, up a staircase to an area where other officers confronted the group.

Bozell entered then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office and left carrying an unidentified object. He later entered the Senate gallery, where he moved a C-SPAN camera to face the ground so it could not record rioters ransacking the chamber on a live video feed. He also spent several minutes on the Senate floor.

Bozell roamed thorough the Capitol for nearly an hour, reaching more than a dozen different parts of the building and passing through at least seven police lines before police escorted him out, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors had argued for a “terrorism enhancement” that would significantly increase the recommended range of a prison sentence for Bozell. But the judge declined to apply the enhancement, saying it “doesn't make a lot of sense in this case.”

Defense attorney Eric Snyder said Bozell doesn't deserve to be described as a terrorist.

“Good people do bad things,” Snyder said. “This is a good person who did a terrible thing.”

Bozell’s father submitted a letter to the court in which he expressed support for his son — and questioned prosecutors’ motives for seeking a terrorism enhancement.

“I have remained silent for the past 3 1/2 years because I didn’t want to tip the apple cart of justice,” he wrote. “But given what I saw in the trial, and more importantly learning about this terrorism enhancement, I no longer can. I believe there is more at play here.”

More than 1,350 people have been charged with federal crimes related to the Capitol riot. Over 850 of them have been sentenced, with roughly two-thirds receiving a term of imprisonment ranging from a few days to 22 years.