A member of the extremist Oath Keepers group who joined other rioters in a so-called stack formation to breach the Capitol on Jan. 6 was sentenced Friday to three years in prison on conspiracy charges in connection with the 2021 attack.
In a 48-page indictment, prosecutors said that David Moerschel of Punta Gorda, Florida, had marched with other Oath Keepers in a “stack” formation up the east steps of the Capitol to the area outside of the Capitol Rotunda doors and joined a mob that included rioters who attacked officers and yelled “Take their shields” and “Our house!” with some of them disarming officers and stealing their shields.
After breaching the Capitol, the stack split up, with part of the group making an unsuccessful effort to push its way through a line of officers guarding a hallway leading to the Senate Chamber, and the other making its way toward the House of Representatives in an unsuccessful search for then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., prosecutors said.
Moerschel’s co-defendants — Roberto Minuta of Prosper, Texas; Edward Vallejo of Phoenix; and Joseph Hackett of Sarasota, Florida — were also sentenced this week.
All four members of the Oath Keepers were convicted in January of seditious conspiracy, though Moerschel, 45, received one of the shorter sentences handed down this week by Judge Amit Mehta as part of the seditious conspiracy case involving Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes, who was sentenced May 25 to 18 years in prison.
An attorney for Moerschel, Conor Martin, told NBC News that he believed his client received “a fair sentence,” adding that the judge spelled out “why he felt Mr. Moerschel was less culpable than some of the other defendants that had received higher sentences.”
The maximum sentence for the seldom used seditious conspiracy charge is 20 years in federal prison.
Minuta 39, was sentenced to 4 1/2 years in prison followed by three years of supervised release and Vallejo, 64, was sentenced to three years in prison followed by three years of supervised release, including the first year to be served on home confinement.
Hackett, 53, was sentenced Friday to 3 1/2 years in prison followed by three years of supervised release.
Attorneys for Minuta, Hackett, Vallejo did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Friday.
During a seven-week trial that concluded earlier this year, prosecutors said Vallejo was stationed at a Virginia hotel with a stockpile of rifles that they referred to as a “Quick Reaction Force” while Hackett and Minuta led groups that breached the Capitol.
According to the indictment, in the months leading up to Jan. 6, the defendants and their co-conspirators plotted to stop the transfer of power by force, through efforts that included recruiting members and affiliates and amassing paramilitary gear, weapons, and supplies to bring to Capitol grounds.
A jury found the four defendants guilty of seditious conspiracy, conspiring to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of an official proceeding and conspiring to prevent members of Congress from discharging their official duties on Jan. 23. Hackett was also found guilty of destroying evidence.
Zoë Richards is the evening politics reporter for NBC News.