New York men who assaulted police on January 6 sentenced to 44 months

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Two New York state men who led a crowd that overwhelmed police at the perimeter of the Capitol on January 6, 2021 – then bodysurfed above the crowd at the entrance of a building and officers sprayed with pepper spray – were both sentenced to 44 months in prison on Friday.

Cody Mattice, 29, of Greece, NY, and James Mault, 30, of Brockport, NY, both cried in front of U.S. District Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell and asked for clemency, apologizing for their actions and saying they hope to return to their families and young children soon. But Howell noted that prosecutors had already reached a reasonable deal for them by dropping the charges that could have led to significantly more jail time, and she imposed the sentences the government had requested. Only four other defendants of January 6 were sentenced to longer prison terms.

Text messages obtained by the FBI showed that Mattice and Mault had anticipated the violence on January 6, initially expecting resistance from antifa. They texted family members during the chaos and then congratulated each other in the days following the riot, which temporarily halted certification of the presidential election.

Howell read many messages, using the same profanity the men had. She noted that even after Mattice and Mault were aware of the impact of the riot, “they maintained a form of delusional belief that they were the patriots”.

“They weren’t patriots on January 6, and no one who broke police lines and stopped the democratic process was a patriot that day,” the judge said.

Mattice was a stay-at-home dad and Mault was an ironworker when they began texting on Jan. 2 about driving to President Donald Trump’s ‘Stop the Steal’ rally on Jan. 6, discussing taking gas pepper, helmets, a truncheon and a high-powered fire extinguisher with them. Once in DC, according to court records, Mattice recorded a video of Mault on the National Mall saying they were “preparing to go marching on Capitol Hill.” …It’s about to get crazy.

At the West Plaza near the Capitol, Mattice recorded Mault yelling at officers to join the crowd, prosecutors said in a sentencing memorandum. “What we’re doing is fine,” Mault shouted, “otherwise there wouldn’t be so many… people here.” Soon the pair began tearing down bike racks that police were using as barricades, keeping them away from officers and helping push the crowd through the police line to the Capitol, photos and video obtained by the government show.

Mattice was sprayed with pepper spray during that encounter and both men briefly retreated to clean up, prosecutors said. Meanwhile, Mattice texted his fiancée saying, “James and I literally pushed everyone, I fought like 4 or 5 cops and we’re… victorious,” according to court records. His fiancée, Ashley Choate, replied, “God baby, glad you’re having fun and you’re okay.”

During sentencing, Choate stood up to address the judge. But Howell immediately challenged her to the lyrics, reading her the one in which Mattice claimed he was victorious. “Do you encourage him, with all these events on January 6th?” asked the judge.

“It wasn’t my intention,” Choate said. “I know it sounds like that.”

“It certainly is,” Howell said.

The pair decided to return to the fray, with the crowd now hammering the police on the lower west terrace of the Capitol. Both Mault and Mattice climbed onto the shoulders of protesters to reach the front, photos and video show. Howell said she had to search for the term “crowd surfing” and said she was amazed they got through the crowd into the thick of the fray.

Once there, the pair were handed small canisters of pepper spray by fellow rioters and pointed them at police officers defending the Capitol, photos show. Later questioned by the FBI, Mattice denied using pepper spray and Mault said officers were “let people into the Capitol building.” They also denied taking violent action against police at the West Plaza and claimed they were carried to the Capitol by the massive crowd, according to court records.

The men returned to the Rochester area and were quickly questioned by officers but not immediately charged. Mault was fired from his job as an ironworker. He re-enlisted in the army in May 2021, where he had served as a combat engineer in Kuwait for four years and then four more years in the Army National Guard. The army said so unaware that he was under investigation when he was reinstated in the service. He was arrested while serving at Fort Bragg, NC

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Both men pleaded guilty in April to felony assault on police officers, with an enhanced sentence for spraying chemical agents at police. Mattice and Mault both apologized to a DC police officer who was hit by the spray. Both men have been detained since their arrest in October.

“I was very stupid and ignorant, and I got lost that day,” Mattice said in tears. “And I’m extremely embarrassed.”

“My friends and I went to the Capitol on January 6 with the best of intentions,” Mault said. “What happened was our protest got terribly out of control, I fell into the crowd mentality and didn’t think about what I was doing.”

Howell said the sentence was to serve as a deterrent to “future malcontents who are disappointed with the outcome of an election, and who plan and obstruct the peaceful transition of power after an election, including by directly participating in violence as have these two defendants”.

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