Trump fan who assaulted officers with a hockey stick on Jan. 6 sentenced to prison

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WASHINGTON — A Donald Trump enthusiast who believed the former president’s lies about the 2020 election was sentenced on Wednesday to more than three years in federal prison for assaulting law enforcement officers with a hockey stick during the brutal battle at the lower west tunnel of the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 attack.

Michael Joseph Foy was arrested in January 2021 and was initially held in pretrial detention. He was found guilty of felony charges in June. Federal prosecutors sought more than eight years in federal prison for Foy, saying he assaulted officers with a hockey stick and a sharpened metal pole after traveling to Washington with a “TRUMP 2020” flag.

Michael Joseph Foy outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. (USDC for the District of Columbia)Michael Joseph Foy outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. (USDC for the District of Columbia)

Michael Joseph Foy outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. (USDC for the District of Columbia)

But U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan — who is overseeing Trump’s delayed federal trial on charges he tried to overturn his 2020 election loss by conspiring to obstruct Congress and disenfranchise American voters — said Wednesday that the Justice Department’s request was “unreasonable” and didn’t factor in Foy’s prior military service and other factors in his life in the lead-up to Jan. 6. Chutkan ultimately landed on a sentence of 40 months, meaning that Foy will end up serving an additional two years and a few months in federal prison.

Foy, according to the FBI, had previously shown up to the TCF Center in Detroit after the 2020 election, where Trump supporters spun up on lies about the elections process harassed poll workers and banged on windows to try to stop absentee ballots from being counted. In court on Wednesday, his attorney said that Foy’s mother and stepfather were “ardent Trump supporters” who also bought into Trump’s lies about the election, which made him more susceptible to the misinformation that Trump and his allies were spreading.

Elizabeth Mullin, one of the federal public defenders representing Foy, argued that giving him a lengthy sentence wouldn’t stop future potential rioters from responding to false claims and heated rhetoric from political candidates going forward. A sentence for a random Jan. 6 rioter, she argued, wouldn’t have that much of a deterrent effect when prominent figures — including the presumptive Republican nominee for president — continue to spread lies about the 2020 election. Chutkan avoided getting roped into a discussion of the former president’s culpability for the Capitol attack ahead of the trial she’ll oversee.

Michael Joseph Foy outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. (USDC for the District of Columbia)Michael Joseph Foy outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. (USDC for the District of Columbia)

Michael Joseph Foy outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. (USDC for the District of Columbia)

“I’m not getting into that,” Chutkan said with a smile, prompting laughter in the courtroom.

“Also not getting into that,” she added, when the defense attorney discussed members of Congress who acted upon Trump’s election lies and continue to promote them.

Chutkan did take umbrage at the suggestion that Foy had only planned to use the hockey stick he brought from Michigan as a flagpole.

“This isn’t a hockey town,” Chutkan said, quipping that fans of the Washington Capitals “may disagree.” Foy’s attorney conceded that Foy ultimately used the hockey stick as a weapon at the Capitol.

In a video played during his sentencing, Foy described himself as a “30-year-old loser” who was living at his mom’s house in the lead-up to the attack, which is when Foy fell for what his attorney described as “the dire propaganda” of the former president. Foy thanked Chutkan for helping him get “much-needed mental health help” after he was first arrested.

“Not a day goes by where I didn’t say to myself ‘I’m not going to let you down,'” Foy told Chutkan during the hearing.

Michael Joseph Foy outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. (USDC for the District of Columbia)Michael Joseph Foy outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. (USDC for the District of Columbia)

Michael Joseph Foy outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. (USDC for the District of Columbia)

Chutkan said that Foy had every right to peacefully protest and that he had the right even now to believe whatever lies about the 2020 election that he chooses. But she suggested she hoped Foy had now come to realize that he had “embraced” false beliefs “based on misinformation.” Foy was not being punished for his false beliefs, she reiterated. “I’m punishing you for what you did,” she told him.

Chutkan said what happened on Jan. 6 was “terrifying,” that she was “horrified every single time” she watched videos from that day. Deterrence “is a very important factor” to prevent future rioters from acting on any future lies from political candidates, she said.

“I’ve seen so many people before me who never lifted a hand in violence before Jan. 6,” Chutkan said. “There have to be significant consequences.”

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com



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Alexandra Williams
Alexandra Williams
Alexandra Williams is a writer and editor. Angeles. She writes about politics, art, and culture for LinkDaddy News.

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