First man who entered the Capitol to open the doors to the rest of the rioters sentenced to three years in prison

File – A supporter of former President Donald Trump during the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on Capitol Hill. – MICHAEL NIGRO / ZUMA PRESS / CONTACTOPHOTO

A U.S. court has sentenced to three years in prison the first of the rioters of the assault on the Capitol, who gained access to its interior and opened one of the doors for the rest of the crowd cheered by former President Donald Trump to storm the place that January 6, 2021.

The man who has been punished with three years in prison is George Amos Tenney III, 36, of South Carolina, for two federal crimes – obstruction of legal process and assault on a public official – to which he already pleaded guilty in June.

Prosecutors contend that Tenney «played a key role in exacerbating the attack» by forcing open one of the doors through which at least 50 people initially gained access to the Capitol with the stated intention of stopping the peaceful transfer of presidential power.

Tenney has been described by prosecutors as «the original instigator of one of the two largest violations suffered by the Capitol building that day,» while recalling some of his statements on social networks before the attack. «It seems that we can begin to besiege Congress if the recount of the electoral votes does not go well,» they have paraphrased from the Prosecutor’s Office.

The defense has pointed out that Tenney is «deeply remorseful» and that seeing the consequences of that riot he realized that both he and the rest of those who participated «were nothing more than pawns of ill-intentioned politicians and far-right media personalities.»

Despite what happened that day, few of those involved will have to spend more than a year in jail, although most of the cases have resulted in misdemeanors until recently, when several militiamen from ultra-right-wing groups have been sentenced to severe prison terms for sedition and rebellion.