DOJ: Proud Boys Leader Charged With Seditious Conspiracy During Jan. 6 Capitol Breach

Jack Phillips
By Jack Phillips
June 6, 2022Politics

The Department of Justice charged the former leader of the Proud Boys and four other members with seditious conspiracy in connection to the U.S. Capitol breach on Jan. 6, 2021.

With Monday’s charges, the Justice Department appears to be taking a more aggressive stance against the Proud Boys. It’s the first allegation by federal prosecutors that the right-wing group attempted to oppose the presidential transfer of power during the Jan. 6 Joint Session of Congress.

Proud Boys’ former leader Enrique Tarrio and four others—Ethan Nordean, Joseph Biggs, Zachary Rehl, and Dominic Pezzola—were charged, officials said. Tarrio wasn’t in Washington D.C. during the protests on Jan. 6. But he was arrested in Washington two days prior and charged with vandalizing a Black Lives Matter banner at a church; he was released from jail on Jan. 14 after a 5-month sentence.

Nordean, Biggs, Rehl, and Pezzola were detained and have pleaded not guilty, according to the Department of Justice. Tarrio, meanwhile, was already arrested in March.

“On Jan. 6, 2021, the defendants directed, mobilized, and led members of the crowd onto the Capitol grounds and into the Capitol, leading to dismantling of metal barricades, destruction of property, breaching of the Capitol building, and assaults on law enforcement. During and after the attack, Tarrio and his co-defendants claimed credit for what had happened on social media and in an encrypted chat room,” the Justice Department alleged in its news release.

A sixth member of the group, Charles Donohoe, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding and assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers in April.

Just before Congress convened a joint session to certify the election results, a group of Proud Boys followed a crowd of individuals who breached barriers at a pedestrian entrance to the Capitol grounds, the federal indictment alleged. Several Proud Boy members also entered the Capitol building itself after windows were smashed and doors were forced open.

Prosecutors have claimed the Proud Boys arranged for members to communicate using specific frequencies on Chinese-made Baofeng radios. The devices can be programmed for use on hundreds of frequencies, making it difficult for outsiders to eavesdrop.

Over the years, the Proud Boys have fought with Antifa adherents at riots and protests, with clashes erupting mainly throughout West Coast cities including Portland and Seattle. Vice Media co-founder Gavin McInnes, who founded the Proud Boys in 2016, filed a lawsuit against the Southern Poverty Law Center for labeling the Proud Boys as a hate group.

Eleven members of the Oath Keepers group were charged with seditious conspiracy earlier this year. The Department of Justice said that more than 800 people have been arrested in connection to the Jan. 6 incident at the Capitol.

Attorneys for several Jan. 6 defendants have said their clients who are detained in Washington jail have faced cruel and unusual forms of punishment, including 23-hour solitary confinement sessions, or have been denied access to their lawyers.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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