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Former Derby, CT mayoral candidate sentenced to 10 days in prison for role in Jan. 6 Capitol riot

Derby mayoral candidate Gino DiGiovanni, Jr. looks at unofficial election results at a watch party the night of Nov. 7, 2023. DiGiovani lost to Democrat Joseph DiMartino, who previously ran for mayor in 2021.
Eddy Martinez
Connecticut Public
Derby mayoral candidate Gino DiGiovanni, Jr. looks at unofficial election results at a watch party the night of Nov. 7, 2023. DiGiovani lost to Democrat Joseph DiMartino, who previously ran for mayor in 2021.

A former Connecticut mayoral candidate has been sentenced to 10 days in prison for his role in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

Gino DiGiovanni Jr., a former alderman who lost a mayoral race in Derby in November, was sentenced Wednesday for entering the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021, as riots broke out to stop certification of the 2020 presidential election.

DiGiovanni will serve his 10 days in a federal correctional facility in Danbury.

Following his incarceration, DiGiovanni will serve 12 months of supervised release, pay $500 in restitution and complete 50 hours of community service.

His sentence is shorter than the 30 days recommended by federal prosecutors and was issued by Chief Judge James Boasberg of the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.

DiGiovanni pleaded guilty earlier this year to a federal misdemeanor charge for entering the Capitol after first attending former President Donald Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally.

Based on video from that day, DiGiovanni was inside the Capitol for about 13 minutes. Assistant U.S. Attorney Katherine Boyles said the exhibits show that the scene outside of the building was “chaotic” and showed DiGiovanni “choosing to enter and remain on Capitol grounds where he wasn’t permitted to be.”

Boyles credited DiGiovanni with acknowledging his attendance at the rally and inside the Capitol during a local TV interview in the fall of 2022. But she argued he should still receive a short sentence over receiving no jail time because “this isn’t an ordinary trespass.”

Martin Minnella, DiGiovanni’s attorney, asked the court to give his client “leniency” and no imprisonment. Minnella said that video from Jan. 6 showed that the Capitol Police held the door open for him when DiGiovanni entered the building and that it was not forced entry.

Minnella said his client has been a leader within his community for years and noted that his admission of guilt and indictment resulted in him losing the mayoral election and a decline in his construction business.

“He didn’t destroy anything. He didn’t break anything. He went out on his own,” Minnella said, with his client sitting next to him. “He’s learned his lesson, believe me. He understands what he did was wrong.”

DiGiovanni made similar points, saying that he has taken responsibility for what transpired on Jan. 6, 2021, and also asked the court for leniency in his sentencing.

“From Day One, I’ve accepted responsibility for my actions,” DiGiovanni said during Wednesday’s hearing via Zoom. “I’m truly sorry for my actions that day.”

Boasberg said he appreciated DiGiovanni taking responsibility for his actions and he was sympathetic for the losses he has suffered since his indictment. But Boasberg argued that given DiGiovanni’s role as an elected official and where he was in the crowd, he believed “some jail time” was appropriate.

DiGiovanni’s sentencing comes three years after rioters stormed the Capitol in an effort to stop Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s presidential election win.

According to court documents, DiGiovanni was identified in fall 2022 by “civilian online investigators” as someone who was at the Capitol riot and notified NBC Connecticut. When confronted by reporters at the station, he confirmed he was inside the building, adding that he did not “damage or break anything.”

After his identification, the FBI found additional video and photos appearing to show him inside the Capitol. Sean Brennan, the task force officer who works in the FBI’s New Haven Division, said a witness who knows DiGiovanni professionally was able to identify him, noting that he was wearing a “DiGiovanni and Sons” jacket – the name of his construction company.

This is a developing story.

The Connecticut Mirror/Connecticut Public Radio federal policy reporter position is made possible, in part, by funding from the Robert and Margaret Patricelli Family Foundation and Robert Jaeger.

Lisa Hagen is CT Public and CT Mirror’s shared Federal Policy Reporter. Based in Washington, D.C., she focuses on the impact of federal policy in Connecticut and covers the state’s congressional delegation. Lisa previously covered national politics and campaigns for U.S. News & World Report, The Hill and National Journal’s Hotline.