NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The Nashville man called “Zip Tie Guy” was sentenced on Friday to nearly five years in prison for his role in the deadly riots at the U.S. Capitol.
Eric Munchel, 32, was found guilty of five felonies and three misdemeanors earlier this year, alongside his mother Lisa Eisenhart, 59, who was also sentenced on Friday to two-and-a-half years in prison.
Eisenhart was found guilty of two felonies and five misdemeanors, including conspiracy to commit obstruction.
Eisenhart and Munchel, were both seen inside the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Prosecutors shared photos in documents filed this week showing the mom and son at the Capitol. Munchel was photographed carrying flexible plastic handcuffs in the Senate chamber while armed with a stun gun.
Prosecutors initially requested Munchel be sentenced to four years and nine months in prison along with three years of supervised release. They said his mother should have been sentenced to three years and 10 months incarceration with three years supervised release.
Vanderbilt University Distinguished Professor of Law and Political Science Dr. Edward Rubin explained one thought the judges might have weighed in their sentencing.
“This was planned activity,” said Dr. Rubin. “Everybody in Nashville knows what’s involved in traveling from Nashville to Washington, D.C., you don’t just do that casually. And it was planned and coordinated, coming from superior forces of various kinds, and instructing them what to do and what they did. And this is also important, has tried to intervene in one of those ceremonial events of democracy.”
This week a federal judge sentenced former Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio to 22 years in prison for the assault on the U.S. Capitol. Despite the fact that Tarrio wasn’t present in Washington the day of the attack, prosecutors said he used his influence over hundreds of followers to orchestrate an assault on democracy.
Prosecutors stated in court documents that this was a “a violent attack that forced an interruption of the certification of the 2020 Electoral College vote count, threatened the peaceful transfer of power after the 2020 Presidential election, injured more than one hundred police officers, and resulted in more than $2.9 million in losses.”
Munchel was a 32 year-old then-bartender from the Nashville area. His mother was a 59-year-old nurse from Woodstock, Georgia, which is a suburb of Atlanta.
According to their defense, the riot has been cast as a threat to democracy and other descriptions they call fearmongering.
“To speak of those events in this manner particularly when discussing an individual defendant is unjust and misleading,” stated Munchel’s defense attorney, Joseph W. Allen, in the sentencing memorandum. “From 1776 to the present, Americans have always undertaken to voice their freedom of self-rule in a boisterous manner.”
Dr. Rubin explained why other legal experts feel differently.
“The revolution of 1776 was an effort to oppose oppression by a foreign power. What happened on January 6 was an effort to impose oppression by violence against the U.S. government,” said Dr. Rubin. “Those are two very different uses of violence. And I don’t even think the second one marriage the term revolution, certainly not as we use it in our history books.”
Prior to the sentencing, Munchel’s attorney said he’s remorseful and has accepted responsibility for his actions at the capitol and should therefore be sentenced to a year incarceration. The sentencing took place around midday Friday in federal court.