WASHINGTON D.C. — Just two blocks from the U.S. Capitol Building, and nearly three years later, Larry Giberson ’23 was sentenced to two months of incarceration, six months of home detention, and $2000 in fines by D.C. District Court Judge Carl J. Nichols for his involvement in the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021.
Giberson was found at fault for helping to coordinate a “heave-ho” pushing effort in the Lower West Terrace “tunnel” entrance of the Capitol Building, ushering fellow rioters into the entryway, and contributing to the physical assault of Capitol police officers.
In July, Giberson pleaded guilty to one count of civil disorder in a plea agreement negotiated with the Office of the U.S. Attorney. He was originally charged with six violations of U.S. Code. The remaining charges were waived at the sentencing hearing by the government.
In his sentencing memorandum, U.S. Attorney Stephen J. Rancourt recommended Giberson be sentenced to 11 months of incarceration, three years of supervised release, and $2000 in restitution for damages caused to the Capitol. According to Nichols, the sentence, while significantly shorter than the prosecutor’s recommendation, fits within the sentencing guidelines recommended by the U.S. government.
On May 30, Giberson graduated from the University with an A.B. degree in Politics and certificates in French and Values and Public Life. As of now, Giberson still holds his diploma.
After learning of Giberson’s sentence, the University declined to comment to The Daily Princetonian.
Both the prosecution and defense made arguments for their case noting Giberson’s status as a Princeton student and graduate.
Rancourt noted in his sentencing memo that Giberson “is a young man, but he is evidently capable of appreciating the implication of the January 6 attack on the Capitol and of his participation in that attack,” due to his receipt of a Politics degree.
Giberson’s defense lawyer, Charles Burnham, instead argued that his graduation from Princeton is a mark of good character.
“He went on to become the first member of his family to attend college, graduating from Princeton in 2023 with an A average,” Burnham explained in his sentencing memorandum.
At his July plea agreement hearing, Giberson waived his right to trial-by-jury, instead opting for a trial-by-judge. D.C. District Court Judge Carl J. Nichols made the sentencing decision.
Fifteen members of Giberson’s family identified themselves in the audience, at Nichols’ request. Giberson’s mother — who drove to the Capitol the morning of Jan. 6 and attended Trump’s Ellipse rally with her son — sat in the front row, wiping tears from her eyes throughout the proceeding.
In a character letter to the court, her long-term partner explained why Giberson decided to participate in the Capitol riots.
“[T]he 2020 election period was very exciting for Larry because he understood the process and how things worked,” he wrote. “[It was] maybe similar to watching your favorite baseball team on a World Series run. You get caught up in the hype and excitement and you want to be at that winning game.”
Burnham offered the same reasons for Giberson’s actions as those stated in the letter, and argued for no period of incarceration on the basis of Giberson’s youth and otherwise clean record.
While Nichols acknowledged Giberson’s good character and remorse, he concluded that his conduct of the day warranted harsher punishment than what was requested by Giberson’s defense.
“The events of January 6 were unquestionably very serious,” Nichols told the court.
Directing his attention to Giberson, Nichols also remarked, “you’re still a young man, and I’m sure that everyone in the courtroom hopes nothing like this happens again.”
Before the sentence was issued, Giberson rose to address the court, and gave a tearful speech apologizing for his actions on Jan. 6.
“I stand before you because of my contemptible and inexcusable behavior,” he began. “[T]he road to hell is paved with good intentions.”
He also invoked Princeton’s informal motto: “[A]s someone in the service of the nation, and in the service of humanity, I am sorry.”
Giberson declined to comment to the ‘Prince’ after the court proceedings concluded.
Giberson will be summoned for a voluntary surrender to serve his two months of incarceration in the near future. Following his release from the penitentiary, he will serve six months of home detention with no additional period of supervised release. Burnham requested that Giberson’s incarceration be served close to his home in New Jersey.
Eden Teshome is head Podcast editor and a senior News writer for the ‘Prince.’
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