SCHAUMBURG, Ill. (WLS) -- A man whose role in the U.S. Capitol riot caused his firing at an Illinois tech company has been sentenced prison time for his role in the January 6 violent uprising at the U.S. Capitol.
Bradley Rukstales, 53, of Inverness was sentenced to 30 days in prison and ordered to pay $500 in restitution.
Rukstales pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor, asking for probation, which typically would have been his sentence.
However, in federal court in Washington D.C., prosecutors showed video of Rukstales right in the middle of the Capitol siege that day, at one point throwing a chair and tussling with police. It took three officers to actually get him into custody.
Rukstales was fired as president and CEO of Cogensia, a Schaumburg-based tech company, after being charged. He had no criminal history, and later apologized for what he suggested was bad judgement, saying that he was swept up in the mayhem that day.
"I condemn the violence and destruction that took place," Rukstales said. "It was the single worst personal decision of my life; I have no excuse for my actions and wish that I could take them back."
The government, however, seemed intent to make an example out of his bad decision and the violent furniture toss. Prosecutors asked for 45 days behind bars; the judge settled on 30.
"So, you know, we certainly respect the sentence and we certainly respect the sentence issued by Judge Nichols," said David Benowitz, Rukstales' attorney, after the sentencing. "You know, we just, we wholeheartedly disagree with the sentence and you know, we feel that, you know, based on Mr. Rukstales, his characteristics the nature and circumstances of what he did, and we certainly don't dispute the fact that what he did was wrong. But, sentences given to other similarly situated defendants, we think that he should not have been given a sentence of incarceration."
Compared to sentences for arson, carjacking or murder, a month may seem like much, but ABC7 Legal Analyst Gil Soffer said this is quite a victory for the government. Locking up a businessman with a clean record for any amount of time is very unusual, and likely to send a message to hundreds of other defendants in the Capitol attack.
""It's hard to make the case that you're a perfectly good citizen with an unblemished frame of mind when you're doing something that's inherently belligerent. He did do it. He was captured doing it on film, and I think that really is what sank him and made it very difficult for the government, or at least for the court, to impose a straight sentence of probation," Soffer said.
At least 13 Illinoisans have been charged in Washington.
Rukstales released a statement after his sentencing, saying: "I am sorry for my actions that day and accept the court's decision.
"I have come to realize the weight of my actions, and immensely regret following others into the Capitol. As a patriotic citizen, I hope and pray that the people of our nation will move forward united by the many commonalities we share.
"I greatly appreciate the support of my family, friends, colleagues, and community. Their continued encouragement, and the grace they have shown me, are proof that one brief and thoughtless moment does not need to define a person's entire life.
"I look forward to putting this chapter behind me with the knowledge that in the years to come I will prove myself worthy of forgiveness by living the values that have guided me as a productive and peaceful citizen for the past 53 years."