Hunter Seefried said he was deeply sorry and ashamed of his actions, asking himself every day how he came to participate “in a day that will forever represent a stain on the character of our country.”
“I offer my sincere apology to the country, its school children and everyone who saw the worst of me and everyone on January 6,” Seefried said. He also apologized to the courts, the government and his parents, “whom my criminal behavior has put in the spotlight.”
“I pray that our country can recover,” added Seefried, a plasterboard truck driver who said he is 22 but who prosecutors said was 24.
Seefried was found guilty along with his father, Kevin Seefried, 53 — who paraded a Confederate flag in the building — at trial in July of obstructing an official proceeding in Congress as lawmakers met to confirm President Biden’s 2020 election victory. The obstruction charge is a felony, and both were also convicted of trespassing and related misdemeanors. The elder Seefried faces sentencing in January. Both men are from Laurel, Del.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Benet Kearney requested a 64-month sentence for the younger Seefried, saying he was one of the first handful of rioters to break into the building after clearing shards of glass from a broken window at the Senate wing door .
Seefried confronted an officer inside, and then, along with his father, joined a group of rioters who chased US Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman toward the main entrance of the Senate chamber.
“Hunter Seefried’s participation in the riot was purposeful, aggressive and filled with disregard and disrespect for the police officers whose duty on January 6th was to protect the Capitol and guard the peaceful transition of power during the election certification process,” Kearney and Assistant US Attorney Brittany Reed wrote, adding , that he should be given a harsher sentence than rioters who pleaded guilty to the same offense before trial.
Defense attorney Edson Bostic said Hunter Seefried showed no signs of ideological motivation or planning for violence, was barely 21 at the time and was heavily influenced by his father.
“You have a young man who for 99 percent of his life did things right,” Bostic said. Seefried dropped out of school in the ninth grade but has worked steadily since, his attorney said.
U.S. District Judge Trevor N. McFadden asked why Seefried didn’t stay in the crowd with his mother and his girlfriend instead of helping lead the mob break-in.
“The crowd, the energy was just overwhelming. That’s no excuse,” Seefried said. “I’d say my father, but I’m old enough to know.”
McFadden said the men took part 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 degrading to anyone who believes in law and order” and an “insult to our system of government.”
Still, McFadden said he was very aware of the younger Seefried’s age and “the impulsiveness that can be attributed to age.”
“I think you’re a good man who messed up badly,” McFadden said, “but I think you recognize that you messed up and that’s part of the criminal justice system as well.”
He denied a government request to raise Seefried’s recommended sentencing range to 57 to 71 months, finding it did not involve “causing or threatening injury to a person or damage to property ‘to obstruct the course of justice.'” But it did. result in substantial interference, McFadden said, ruling out probation and home confinement requested by the defense.
Seefried “owes a debt to society,” McFadden said. He added that while this period is undoubtedly the darkest of Seefried’s life, he believes the letters of support from friends and family about the defendant’s “strong work ethic” and that he has “a lot to offer those around him” after his release, concluding: ” It’s up to you.”