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WASHINGTON — A former mixed martial artist filmed punching a police officer during the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol received a 41-month prison sentence on Wednesday, the stiffest punishment yet in the roughly 700 criminal cases stemming from the siege.
U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth imposed the sentence on Scott Fairlamb during a court hearing, citing the serious nature of his conduct during the riots.
Fairlamb's lawyer had asked Lamberth to "take into consideration the approximate 11 months the defendant has already served in custody" and not add additional time.
An emotional Fairlamb addressed the judge during the hearing, saying he has "nothing but remorse" for his actions and that he brought shame upon his family's name.
"That's not who I am," Fairlamb said. "That's not who I was raised to be."
Federal prosecutors had recommended a 44-month sentence.
Lamberth noted that Fairlamb's sentence will be a benchmark for the more than 120 defendants charged with violence against police officers during the Capitol attack.
Fairlamb, a New Jersey gym owner, pleaded guilty in August to assaulting a police officer.
He was captured screaming at officers by their body-worn cameras before shoving one and then punching him in the face.
That's not who I am. That's not who I was raised to be.
Justice Department lawyer Leslie Goemaat highlighted Fairlamb's martial arts training during Wednesday's court hearing, as well as earlier run-ins with the law.
"He was trained to throw a punch and was well aware of the injury he could cause," Goemaat said.
Goemaat also mentioned a video Fairlamb recorded during the riots in which he said: "What Patriots do? We (expletive) disarm them and then we storm the (expletive) Capitol!"
"The defendant's own statements on that day suggest that he came prepared for violence," Goemaat said.
He was trained to throw a punch and was well aware of the injury he could cause.
–Leslie Goemaat, Justice Department lawyer
Goemaat said Lamberth should also impose a fine on Fairlamb because he has raised $30,000 from an online fundraiser.
Most of the guilty pleas in Jan. 6 prosecutions have been in cases involving non-violent misdemeanors, but government lawyers are now seeking prison sentences for some defendants facing more serious felony charges.
Prosecutors in a late-night court filing recommended a four-year, three-month sentence for Jacob Chansley, the participant in the Jan. 6 riots nicknamed the "QAnon Shaman."
Lamberth, who is also handling Chansley's case, will sentence him on Nov. 17.
Chansley's attorney, Albert Watkins, said in a Tuesday court filing that Chansley should be released "as soon as possible," noting that he will have spent more than 10 months in pretrial detention.
"I can say with confidence that Mr. Chansley is in dire need of mental health treatment," Watkins said in the filing, adding that further time behind bars "jeopardizes his mental stability."