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'Sovereign citizen' Jan. 6 rioter gets seven years for leading mob assault on officers

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WASHINGTON — A Washington man who led an attack on officers on Jan. 6 and represented himself at trial using arguments a federal judge described as “bulls—” and “gobbledygook” was sentenced to seven years in federal prison on Wednesday.


Taylor James Johnatakis was convicted in November on felony counts of obstruction of an official proceeding, assaulting officers and civil disorder, as well as four misdemeanor charges. Judge Royce Lamberth, who was appointed to the bench by former President Ronald Reagan, said at the sentencing hearing on Wednesday that he was troubled by Johnatakis’ “lack of remorse” and he was concerned that, if given the chance, Johnatakis might engage in violence again.


Noting the letters of support that Johnatakis’ friends and family had sent to the court, Lamberth noted that Johnatakis was being held “accountable for what he did,” not the person he is. Unfortunately, Lamberth said, Johnatakis left his good attributes at home “when he went to the Capitol on Jan. 6.”


Much as he did during the trial, Johnatakis continued not to engage with the substance of the proceedings and instead advanced sovereign citizen arguments, indicating that he did not think he was subject to the federal justice system.