Former Proud Boys Official Pleads Guilty to Jan. 6-Related Seditious Conspiracy

Zachary Stieber
By Zachary Stieber
October 7USshare
Former Proud Boys Official Pleads Guilty to Jan. 6-Related Seditious Conspiracy
Members of the right group Proud Boys march to the Capitol Building in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021. (Leah Millis/Reuters)

A former leader in the Proud Boys organization pleaded guilty on Oct. 6 to seditious conspiracy related to the Jan. 6, 2021, breach of the U.S. Capitol.

Jeremy Bertino, 43, pleaded guilty to the seditious conspiracy charge and a charge of illegally possessing a firearm during a hearing in Washington.

The second charge stems from a search of Bertino’s apartment in March.

The two charges collectively carry up to 30 years in prison.

Bertino joined the Proud Boys, a group that bills itself as a “pro-Western fraternal organization for men,” in 2018 and was a vice president of a chapter in South Carolina, according to a statement of offense (pdf) entered as part of the guilty plea.

Bertino was one of the individuals involved in an altercation in Washington on Dec. 12, 2020. He sustained injuries that prevented him from traveling back to the nation’s capital for the Jan. 6 events.

Bertino was part of the plot to obstruct lawmakers from certifying electoral votes, according to the filing. He thought that the 2020 election was stolen and believed that “drastic measures, including violence” were necessary to prevent lawmakers from certifying the votes.

Bertino sent messages to Proud Boys who did go to Washington for the breach, including telling them to “form a spear,” according to the statement of defense. He also wrote on social media: “DO NOT GO HOME. WE ARE ON THE CUSP OF SAVING THE CONSTITUTION.”

During the evening of Jan. 6, Bertino wrote to Enrique Tarrio, the leader of the Proud Boys at the time, and said, “You know we made this happen,” and “1776 [expletive].”

Bertino agreed to cooperate with authorities as part of the plea deal, which saw no charges dropped.

Five other Proud Boys members, including Tarrio, were charged in June with seditious conspiracy. All have pleaded not guilty.

Another Proud Boys member, Charles Donohoe, 34, of North Carolina, entered a guilty plea earlier this year to two charges, including conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding.

Bertino is the fourth person to plead guilty to seditious conspiracy, which is defined as two or more people in conspiring “to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof.”

Five people who were part of or linked to the Oath Keepers, a separate group, are currently on trial in Washington on seditious conspiracy charges.

As of September, more than 870 people have been charged in relation to Jan. 6.

From The Epoch Times

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