A federal judge on Wednesday rejected recommendations from prosecutors and defense lawyers for probation and instead sentenced a Miami County couple to short jail terms for their roles in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
That day, protesters who supported then-President Donald Trump attempted to obstruct Congress from certifying the election of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
Judge Tanya Chutkan gave Brandon Miller 20 days in jail and Stephanie Miller 14 days in jail. The Bradford residents also were fined $500 and ordered to perform 60 hours of community service.
“The fact is they were part of a mob,” Chutkan said during sentencing.
That mob was intent on stopping the lawful transfer of power, the judge said.
“It amounted to an attempted overthrow of the government,” Chutkan said.
Brandon and Stephanie Miller of Bradford each pleaded guilty in September to one count of parading, demonstrating or picketing in the Capitol.
The misdemeanor count had carried the potential for a maximum of six months in prison and a $10,000 fine.
“The country is watching. There has to be consequences for participating in the attempted violent overthrow of the government,” the judge said.
Investigators arrested the Millers in March at their Bradford home. They were not detained and remained in Ohio during the criminal process.
Prosecutors on Wednesday said the Millers entered the Capitol through a broken window on the Senate side and spent about 10 minutes in the building during the riot.
“They knew full well of the violence that proceeded their entry,” Chutkan said.
Brandon Miller used a Facebook Live to capture his time in the Capitol, prosecutors noted, showing pride in what he had done.
Prosecutors also said the Millers spent less time in the building when compared to others’ conduct that day.
The judge allowed both Millers to remain free on their own recognizance, to voluntarily surrender and to serve staggered terms to allow for the care of their child. Sentencing will be deferred until after the holidays, she ruled.
“This was not a sightseeing trip,” Chutkan said. “They got in the car, they drove a considerable distance to Washington.”
The judge said the Millers lacked remorse and celebrated what they had done in the immediate aftermath.
“They both reiterated they were proud and would do it again,” Chutkan said.
The Millers declined to speak before the judge sentenced them.
Prosecutors and Stephanie Miller’s attorney agreed she was quick to admit to investigators what she had done and accept responsibility upon her arrest. That accounted for the difference in her shorter sentence.
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