Hunter Seefried said he was deeply sorry and ashamed of his actions, wondering every day how he had come to participate “in a day that will forever be a stain on the character of our country”.
“I sincerely apologize to the country, to its school children and to all who saw the worst of me and everyone on January 6,” Seefried said. He also apologized to the courts, the government and to his parents, “whom my criminal behavior has brought into the spotlight”.
“I pray that our country can recover,” added Seefried, a drywall delivery truck driver who said he was 22 but prosecutors said was 24.
Seefried was found guilty along with his father, Kevin Seefried, 53 – who marched with a Confederate flag through the building – in a bench trial in July of obstructing an official congressional proceeding as lawmakers stood gathered to confirm President Biden’s 2020 election victory. The obstruction charge is a felony and the two were also convicted of trespassing and related misdemeanors. The elder Seefried faces sentencing in January. Both men are from Laurel, Del.
Assistant US Attorney Benet Kearney has asked for a 64-month prison sentence for the young Seefried, saying he was one of the first rioters to burst into the building after removing shards of glass from a shattered window at the door of the Senate wing.
Seefried confronted an officer inside, then with his father joined a group of rioters who pursued Eugene Goodman, United States Capitol Police Officer to the main entrance to the Senate Chamber.
“Hunter Seefried’s participation in the riot was deliberate, aggressive, and full of contempt and disrespect for police officers whose duty on January 6 was to protect the Capitol and ensure the peaceful transition of power during the certification process. election,” Kearney and the American aide said. Attorney Brittany Reed wrote, adding that he should be sentenced more harshly than rioters who pleaded guilty to the same offense before trial.
Defense attorney Edson Bostic said Hunter Seefried showed no trace of ideological motivation or planning for violence, was just 21 at the time and was heavily influenced by his father.
“You have a young man who for 99% of his life has done it right,” Bostic said. Seefried dropped out of school in ninth grade but has worked continuously since, his lawyer said.
U.S. District Judge Trevor N. McFadden questioned why Seefried did not stay in the crowd with his mother and girlfriend rather than help lead the mob break-in.
“The crowd, the energy was just overwhelming. That’s no excuse,” Seefried said. “I would say my dad, but I’m old enough to know that.”
McFadden said the men participated in “a national embarrassment” that injured more than 100 police officers and caused millions of dollars in damage to a “sacred” building. The judge also called their pursuit of Goodman “humiliating and demeaning to all who believe in law and order” and an “affront to our system of government.”
Still, McFadden said he was keenly aware of young Seefried’s age and “impulsivity attributable to age”.
“I believe you’re a good man who screwed up badly,” McFadden said, “but I believe you recognize that you screwed up, and that’s part of criminal justice as well.”
He rejected a government request to increase Seefried’s recommended sentencing range to 57 to 71 months, saying it was not “causing or threatening to cause injury or damage to property” in order to ‘impede the administration of justice’. But it does. result in substantial interference, McFadden said, ruling out probation and home confinement as requested by the defense.
Seefried “owes a debt to society,” McFadden said. He added that although this period was undoubtedly the darkest in Seefried’s life, he believes that the letters of support offered by friends and family of the defendant’s “strong work ethic” and that he has “a lot to offer those around him” upon his release, concluding, “It’s up to you.”