Former New York Police Department officer Thomas Webster, who unsuccessfully tried to convince a Washington jury that he was simply acting in self-defense against a police officer whom he assaulted on January 6, 2021, was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Thursday.
This is the longest sentence of any January 6 defendant thus far.
In videos played during his trial, the 56-year-old former Marine can be seen waving a metal flagpole at Officer Noah Rathbun before crossing police barriers at the US Capitol and accosting Rathbun, suffocating him with the agent’s chin strap. In May, Webster was found guilty on all six charges he faced, five of which were felonies.
“It wasn’t until you came along, Mr. Webster, that all hell broke loose,” Judge Amit Mehta said of the police line Webster broke.
“I still get shocked every time I see it,” Mehta said of the video. “Nobody pushed you forward, you ran,” the judge added, noting several times how the video completely contradicted Webster’s own testimony about the assault.
“He constructed an alternate truth,” Mehta said of Webster’s testimony on the stand in May, adding that his self-defense claims were “simply not credible” and calling his testimony “completely fanciful.”
Webster, who spoke through tears before his sentence was handed down, asked Mehta for “mercy,” saying he “didn’t have the courage to hold back” that day.
“I will never be able to look at my children the same way again,” Webster said. “The way they look at me is different now… I was their hero until January 6.”
Portions of Trump’s speech after insurrection presented 2:23Officer Rathbun, dressed in his police uniform, attended the hearing, sitting in the back of the courtroom.
As for Rathbun, Webster apologized to the agent, simply saying he was sorry.
During sentencing, prosecutors said Webster brought a firearm to Washington, which he left behind on Jan. 6, and wore his police-provided bulletproof vest on Capitol Hill.
Webster’s attorney, James Monroe, wrote in a court filing that Webster’s actions, which he previously argued were self-defense and justified, were now “unmistakably violent and reprehensible,” calling them “unspeakable” acts.
Monroe told Judge Mehta that Webster should be sentenced to time served for what he called “seconds of stupidity.”
“He’s such a decent guy,” Monroe said.
Monroe also blamed former President Donald Trump and the Republican Party for turning Webster and “decent, law-abiding people … against their fellow citizens.”