New York Massage Therapist Sentenced to Three Months in Jail for Capitol Riot
A New York massage therapist who participated in the mob of Trump supporters that stormed the U.S. Capitol has been sentenced to three months in jail. Frank Rocco Giustino pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge in February related to the January 6, 2021, riot. However, he was arrested last month after failing to appear in court for a previous sentencing hearing.
U.S. District Judge James Boasberg expressed his disappointment in Giustino’s lack of remorse for his actions and disrespect for the court’s authority. The judge stated that Giustino’s behavior, from the guilty plea to the sentencing, was the worst he had seen among January 6 defendants.
Giustino claimed that he condemned the violence at the Capitol and did not intend to be disrespectful. However, the judge sentenced him to 90 days of imprisonment, with credit given for the approximately 30 days he has already spent in custody.
Prosecutors initially recommended a four-month sentence, but they sought a longer term after Giustino disrupted a court hearing in June with defiant outbursts. During that hearing, Giustino criticized his case and expressed his desire to represent himself, using language aligned with the sovereign citizen extremist movement’s belief in the illegitimacy of the U.S. government.
The judge warned Giustino to behave in a civilized manner and threatened to issue an arrest warrant if he failed to appear for sentencing. In response, Giustino verbally attacked the judge and used explicit language towards a prosecutor.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas Collyer described Giustino’s behavior as disrespectful and belittling. Collyer revealed that Giustino had sent him an email referring to his prosecution as terrorism and demanding the dismissal of his case along with an apology.
Giustino pleaded guilty to parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol building, a misdemeanor carrying a maximum sentence of six months in jail. Over 400 other January 6 rioters have also pleaded guilty to the same charge.
Giustino missed two court appearances after pleading guilty, resulting in a warrant being issued for his arrest. He was eventually apprehended in Florida in October.
Prior to the riot, Giustino frequently posted on Facebook about conspiracy theories regarding the 2020 presidential election. He traveled from Long Island to Washington, D.C., to attend Trump’s rally and joined the crowd in marching to the Capitol, where the riot ensued.
Giustino entered the Capitol a few minutes after other rioters broke down a door. Prosecutors noted that he had posted on social media about being subjected to tear gas and disrespectfully referred to law enforcement as “civil servants.”
Approximately 1,200 individuals have been charged with federal crimes related to the January 6 attack. Of those, almost 900 have pleaded guilty or been convicted, with over 700 already sentenced to imprisonment terms ranging from three days to 22 years.