A Dawsonville man who entered the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, through a broken window told a Washington, D.C., judge Thursday, July 7, he was remorseful for his actions and took responsibility.
Benjamin Torre, 24, pleaded guilty in March to parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building.
He was sentenced Thursday to 12 months on probation, with two months on monitored house arrest. In addition to 60 hours of community service, Torre was ordered to pay $500 in restitution to the Architect of the Capitol and a $1,113 fine.
After sentencing Torre, U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras said he hoped the ordeal provided the 24-year-old with life experiences that have matured him, referring to it as “youthful indiscretion.”
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The prosecution laid out its case about Torre entering the Capitol with a large group of rioters and entering both the Senate spouses’ lounge and the “hideaway” office of Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimberley Nielsen described Torre as “wide-eyed” inside the Capitol, posing for photographs with Capitol Police officers before leaving 15 minutes later.
In a sentencing memo filed before the hearing, Nielsen asked for two weeks of incarceration and three years of probation.
Nielsen noted that Torre and his parents traveled to Washington, D.C., and attended the “Stop the Steal” rally.
“To be sure, this was not just some boyish prank,” Nielsen wrote. “Torre was angry about the election and his entry into both private rooms was an act of arrogance, a show of power and control. It showed that, in that moment, Torre viewed the private rooms of members of Congress as the dominion of himself and all the other members of the mob.”
Defense attorney Maria Jacob said her client was fired from The Gap after his employer learned of the charges against him. He now has a new job.
Jacob included four letters in support of Torre from family, family friends and a program director at Lanier Technical College, where Torre took classes.
Torre had no prior criminal history.
Jacob said Torre has “learned his lesson,” realizing the severity of what happened. Torre was forthcoming when he met with law enforcement and has publicly denounced what happened.
In a separate U.S. District Court case, Benjamin Torre’s mother, Christine Torre, and others filed a complaint in March to stop what they call an “unlawful and overbroad” subpoena for cellphone records by the congressional committee investigating the events of Jan. 6, 2021.
According to the complaint, Christine Torre and her husband “became concerned about the election integrity of the Georgia voting system” after voting early at a polling station in the presidential election. Her husband was told that he had already voted, which was not true, the complaint claimed.
The Torres then acted as volunteers of the Stop the Steal campaign, passing out signs at a Jan. 5 rally.
The Jan. 6 congressional committee issued a subpoena seeking telephone records from Christine Torre and people on her family plan account, according to the complaint.
The Times reached out to Christine Torre’s attorney, Paul Kamenar, via phone and email Thursday, but those requests were not returned.
This story was originally published by the Gainesville Times, a sister publication of the Dawson County News.