Queens Man Sentenced to Six and a Half Years in Prison
A Queens man has been sentenced to six and a half years in prison for his involvement in the riot at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. Ralph Joseph Celentano III, 56, of Broad Channel, was convicted on multiple counts, including assaulting and resisting an officer, as well as interfering with officers during a civil disorder.
The sentencing took place on Tuesday, according to court records.
Justice Department Labels Actions as “Disgraceful”
The Justice Department, in a news release, revealed that Judge Timothy J. Kelly of Federal District Court in Washington referred to Celentano’s actions during the riot as “disgraceful.” The judge also described Celentano’s assault on the officer as “a truly cowardly and despicable thing to do.”
Over 1,265 Individuals Charged in Connection with Capitol Riot
Celentano is one of over 1,265 individuals to be charged in connection with the January 6 riot at the Capitol, according to the Justice Department. The riot occurred as supporters of former President Donald J. Trump stormed the Capitol to prevent the certification of Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 presidential election.
A federal investigation into the events of that day is still ongoing.
Trump Faces Federal Charges Related to the Riot
Former President Donald J. Trump, who is seeking the Republican nomination in the upcoming presidential election, is facing federal conspiracy and other charges arising from the Capitol riot. He has pleaded not guilty.
For more details on Trump’s charges, you can read the New York Times article here.
Lawyer’s Defense Arguments
Mr. Celentano’s federal public defender did not respond immediately to a request for comment.
In a court filing prior to the sentencing, Celentano’s lawyers portrayed him as a churchgoing boy scout who had a long career as a union carpenter. They explained that he was forced to stop working due to on-the-job injuries and spent his free time surfing and skateboarding before being charged in the Capitol attack.
The lawyers claimed that Celentano attended the rally for Mr. Trump on January 6 without any violent intentions. They further stated that he deeply believed the election was stolen and received his news from sources that provided him with misinformation.
Video Evidence and Eyewitness Testimony
Court filings revealed that after the rally, Celentano joined other rioters near the Capitol and was recorded saying, “Someone’s got to do something!”
When asked what they should do, Celentano replied, “Occupy the Capitol. It’s our building.”
According to court documents, Celentano and other rioters marched towards the police officers guarding the Capitol. He physically engaged with multiple officers, even chasing down and shoving one of them.
At one point, Celentano tackled a Capitol Police officer from behind, lifting him off his feet and flipping him over a five-foot-high ledge, as detailed in court documents.
Additionally, after assaulting the officer, Celentano filmed a video on the Capitol grounds where he celebrated the mob’s actions. The Justice Department stated that he expressed in text messages and social media posts that it was a day he would always remember and that he would do it all over again.
Read More of this Story at www.nytimes.com – 2024-02-01 00:02:20
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