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Capitol rioter’s 2-month sentence is harsher than what prosecutors sought

Frank Scavo faces 60 days in prison, over four times longer than what the government recommended, plus a $5,000 fine. 

WASHINGTON (CN) — A federal judge gave a 60-day prison sentence Monday to a man who chartered buses that brought 200 people to the Stop the Steal rally ahead of the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Minutes before his sentence was read, Frank Scavo delivered a statement to the court in which he seemed to downplay his participation in the riot. The Pennsylvania man spent about eight minutes inside the Capitol but said he only needed two before doubts began to surface. 

“Candidly, I wondered to myself what I was doing there,” Scavo said.

Claiming that he only went up the steps to the Rotunda doors to take pictures, Scavo suggested that he was swept up in the frenzy. “The crowd pushed up to the doors, and I got caught up in it,” Scavo said.

But the statement left a poor impression on U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth, who wound up quadrupling the 14-day sentence recommended by the government.  

“From the point the jig was up," Lamberth told Scavo, "you’ve done everything you could. Good luck to you.”

Scavo had filmed himself during the riot as he joined in chants of “treason” and celebrated the breach. 

“This is top-secret shit. We’re in the Capitol. Stormed the fucking Capitol of the fucking United States at 58 years old,” Scavo had said.

It was Lamberth who delivered the first-ever sentence to a Capitol rioter in June. The Reagan appointee's sentencing of Scavo comes about two months after Lamberth reflected with disappointment on the lack of remorse shown by rioter Anna Morgan-Lloyd after he opted not to give her jail time.

“The Court’s hopes have been recently dashed when, a day after sentencing, another January 6 defendant made statements in an interview that directly conflicted with the contrite statements she made to the undersigned,” Lamberth wrote in a September opinion connected to yet another rioter, Jacob Chansley.

Morgan-Lloyd downplayed the violence that occurred at the Capitol in a Fox News interview only one day after she gave a tearful apology in court.

Lamberth remarked Monday that it seemed that Scavo, a well-known Republican candidate and political activist in northeast Pennsylvania, was careful in his remarks but seemed to try to “quibble” with what he was admitting to. 

Scavo pleaded guilty to parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building in September. 

In addition to prison time, Lamberth imposed a $5,000 fine on Scavo, the maximum amount allowed for his misdemeanor charge. 

Lamberth is the second judge to hand out a heftier sentence to Capitol rioters than the prosecutors recommend, following in the footsteps of U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan.  

Also on Monday, Edward McAlanis pleaded guilty to the same parading charge that Scavo accepted. The Pennsylvania man said he didn’t know that he wasn’t allowed inside the building, and stayed for about 10 minutes. 

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