A Clovis physician who pleaded guilty to entering the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection was sentenced Friday in Washington, D.C., to 24 months probation, a $500 restitution charge and a $3,000 fine, according to court documents.
Leonard Gruppo, 56, pleaded guilty Aug. 18 to a charge of parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building after surrendering in early June. He was allowed to go free on a personal recognizance bond while awaiting trial.
As part of the plea deal, Gruppo admitted knowing it was illegal to enter the U.S. Capitol building without permission but did it anyway.
Gruppo’s attorney, Dan Lindsey, told The News he and his client were pleased with the sentence. Gruppo, Lindsey said, was a Green Beret and a decorated veteran of the U.S. Army with no criminal record and was only in the Capitol for a few minutes.
“Mr. Gruppo was there to support the president of the United States,” Lindsey said. “The president didn’t show up.”
The Department of Justice did ask for a 30-day jail sentence, arguing in a sentencing memo Gruppo’s military service rendered his participation in the Jan. 6 events more egregious.
Prior to the sentencing, Gruppo wrote a letter to D.C. District Court Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell expressing his remorse. “I have served my country in four wars,” Gruppo wrote. “I have put my life on the line countless times for my country in those wars and many other deployments with the Special Force and other elite units … I should have known better but somehow did not, and I have already paid a very heavy price for that lapse in judgment.”
The probation sentence includes a 90-day home detention condition; Gruppo will be confined to his home during the detention, except for authorized absences.
Presbyterian Healthcare told The News following the guilty plea that Gruppo was an employee of an external vendor, and that he last worked in its facilities in April.