Montana man gets 3 years in prison for role in Capitol riot
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A Montana man who led rioters into a Capitol meeting last spring has been sentenced to three years in prison.
Thomas Larkin, 30, was convicted of conspiracy to riot and other charges. He was found guilty on July 1 by a Montana jury on counts of arson, rioting, conspiracy to commit a felony, possessing dangerous contraband and making criminal threats.
The jury was deadlocked on a charge of felony destruction of property.
The charges stem from when Larkin, who was a resident of Washington County, led his fellow residents into a meeting in the Capitol during a Capitol hearing on a bill to repeal the state’s prevailing wage law.
The bill at the time would have raised the minimum wage paid county workers by $1, as well as eliminated it for county employees in several other counties.
Larkin, who is black, was accused in a civil rights lawsuit of conspiring with and leading a mob of protesters into the Capitol last spring who forced their way into and around the building, and threw rocks, eggs and other objects at elected lawmakers, police officers and other people inside the building.
Three people, including Larkin, were arrested and charged.
Larkin took the stand during his trial, and recounted some of his actions leading up to their actions.
He spoke in court last week of how he was planning to lead the riot, and that he wasn’t responsible for the actions of rioters outside the Capitol.
“I was not responsible for rioters,” he said.
It was up to the Capitol’s security to prevent any such actions, he said.
“I did not have the authority to direct them to do anything they wanted to do,” he said. “If they wanted to do something and said ‘we want to do it,’ I would have no authority to tell them ‘don’t do it.’ That’s the way I see it, anyways.
“At the end of the day, there were people who wanted to have