A former U.S. Marine who served in the Trump administration as a low-level State Department aide was sentenced on Friday to nearly six years in prison for his role in the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
The former aide, Federico G. Klein, of Falls Church, Va., was a State Department employee when he used a stolen riot shield to repeatedly assault officers during several violent clashes in a tunnel below the Capitol, prosecutors said.
He was arrested in March 2021 and indicted later that year.
After a non-jury trial in July, Mr. Klein was convicted of eight felony charges, including six counts of assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers; obstruction of an official proceeding; and civil disorder, as well as several misdemeanors, prosecutors said.
He did not testify at his trial, and declined to address the court before Judge Trevor N. McFadden of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia sentenced him to 70 months in prison and 24 months of supervised release, The Associated Press reported.
“Your actions on Jan. 6 were shocking and egregious,” Judge McFadden told Mr. Klein, 45, according to The A.P.
Prosecutors had asked for 10 years in prison and three years of supervised release.
They did not immediately comment after the sentencing but had argued that Mr. Klein’s position in the State Department made his actions on Jan. 6 particularly appalling.
“As an employee of the federal government, Klein was endowed with the trust of the American people,” they wrote in court documents. “He violated that trust on Jan. 6 when he attacked the very country for which he was paid to work.”
Mr. Klein’s lawyer, Stanley E. Woodward Jr., had asked for 40 days in prison, with credit for time served, and three years of probation.
Mr. Woodward declined to comment after the sentencing. He had argued that Mr. Klein’s sentence should be based on his actions and not on his status as a State Department employee.
In court documents, Mr. Woodward wrote: “Mr. Klein readily admits that the events of Jan. 6, 2021, are abhorrent. Mr. Klein regrets his role in the events of that day.”
Mr. Klein, who goes by Freddie, grew up in a suburb of Washington, D.C., attended George Mason University and served in the Marines for about nine years. He volunteered for mainstream Republicans, including Mitt Romney in his 2012 presidential campaign, before signing on with Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
In 2017, he was installed in the State Department’s Office of Brazilian and Southern Cone Affairs as a special assistant, a relatively obscure position with little influence.
People who encountered him at work said he was outspoken in his opposition to abortion rights and support for Mr. Trump’s plans to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico.
After the 2020 presidential election, Mr. Klein took time off from the State Department and traveled to Las Vegas, where he “investigated claims of voter fraud,” prosecutors said.
When an acquaintance asked him if he was going to Mr. Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021, Mr. Klein responded in a series of messages: “Hell yea I’m going. I’m a appointee. I’d better be there. It IS my job,” prosecutors said.
Mr. Klein, wearing a red “Make America Great Again” hat, attended the rally and then marched to the Capitol, where he waged a “relentless siege” on the police for more than 90 minutes, prosecutors wrote.
They wrote that he “was likely motivated by a personal benefit — namely, continued employment as a political appointee — when he attacked the U.S. Capitol.”
Ignoring police commands to move back on the Upper West Plaza, prosecutors said Mr. Klein “pushed hard” against police officers, telling them, “You can’t stop this!”
When an officer used a baton to try to push him back, Mr. Klein, “pressed back against him, driving his left shoulder” into the officer, prosecutors wrote.
“We need some more, let’s go!” Mr. Klein told rioters, according to prosecutors.
Mr. Klein then entered a tunnel in the first wave of rioters, beckoning others to join him, prosecutors said.
When officers inside the tunnel tried to close a set of metal doors, Mr. Klein grabbed a stolen riot shield and, with the help of another rioter, successfully wedged it between the doors, prosecutors said.
He and other rioters then pried open the doors and continued to attack the police, prosecutors wrote.
At one point, a rioter handed Mr. Klein a stolen riot shield, which Mr. Klein used to “forcibly push” against officers, as rioters around him chanted “Heave! Ho!”
Mr. Klein “pushed so forcefully,” pressing his face and body against riot shields, that one officer who was trying to hold back the mob exclaimed, “I’m exhausted!”
“Despite Klein’s and other rioters’ considerable and coordinated efforts,” prosecutors wrote, “the police line at the tunnel did not fail.”