the fact that he did receive that training and the fact that he intentionally overlooked his oath to commit one of the most destructive acts against our Constitution and our democracy, that does affect the government’s view of his conduct,” said a prosecutor.
During his 27 years in the U.S. Army, Leonard Gruppo joined the Special Forces, served in four war zones and led a team of combat medics in Iraq before retiring in 2013 as a lieutenant colonel.
During his six minutes inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, Gruppo joined a slew of other military veterans as a mob of pro-Trump rioters carried out an unparalleled assault on the bastion of American democracy. He’s among dozens of veterans and active-service members charged in connection with the insurrection., the AP reported.
Now, cases like his are presenting a thorny question for federal judges to consider when they sentence veterans who stormed the Capitol: Do they deserve leniency because they served their country or tougher punishment because they swore an oath to defend it?
The Justice Department has adopted the latter position. In at least five cases so far, prosecutors have cited a rioter’s military service as a factor weighing in favor of a jail sentence or house arrest. Prosecutors have repeatedly maintained that veterans’ service, while commendable, made their actions on Jan. 6 more egregious.
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