Four men labeled as leaders of the far-right Proud Boys have been charged with the riot in the U.S. Capitol, as an unsealed indictment on Friday provides new evidence, federal officials believe, that group members planned and planned a coordinated attack To date, at least 19 leaders, members or employees of the neo-fascist Proud Boys have been tried in federal court for crimes related to the January 6 uprising. The latest indictment suggests that the Proud Boys have deployed a much larger contingent in Washington. Over 60 users took part in an encrypted messaging channel for group members that was set up the day before the riots.
The Proud Boys left an earlier channel and created the new « Boots on the Ground » channel after police stopped the The group’s top leader, Enrique Tarrio, was arrested in Washington. Tarrio was arrested on January 4 and charged with destroying a Black Lives Matter banner during a December protest in a historic black church. He was ordered to stay out of the District of Columbia.
Tarrio has not been charged in connection with the riot, but the most recent indictment involves him with his title as chairman of the Proud Boys.
Ethan Nordean and Joseph Biggs, two of the four defendants on the previous indictment, were arrested several weeks ago on separate but related charges. The new indictment also charges Zachary Rehl and Charles Donohoe.
All four defendants are charged with conspiring to obstruct the certification of the electoral college by Congress. Other charges on the indictment include obstruction of an official trial, obstruction of law enforcement during a civil malfunction, and disorderly conduct « Elders Council » of the group. Biggs, 37, of Ormond Beach, Florida, is a self-described organizer of Proud Boys. Rehl, 35, from Philadelphia, and Donohoe, 33, from North Carolina are indicted as presidents of their local Proud Boys chapters.
A Biggs attorney declined to comment. The other three men’s lawyers did not immediately respond to comments on Friday.
Members of Proud Boys, who describe themselves as a politically incorrect men’s club for “Western chauvinists”, have often fought street fights with anti-fascist activists at rallies and protests. Vice Media co-founder Gavin McInnes, who founded the Proud Boys in 2016, sued the Southern Poverty Law Center for classifying it as a hate group.
The Proud Boys met at the Washington Monument at around 10 a.m. on January 6th and marched to the Capitol before then-President Donald Trump addressed thousands of supporters near the White House.
About two hours later, just before Congress convened a joint session to confirm the election results, a proud group followed Boys in a crowd who broke barriers at a pedestrian entrance to the Capitol grounds, according to the indictment. Several proud boys entered the Capitol itself after the mob smashed windows and forced doors.
At 3:38 pm, Donohoe announced on the Boots on the Ground channel that he and others were “joining forces with a second force « When some rioters began to leave the Capitol, according to the prosecution.
» This was not just a march. This was an incredible attack on our government institutions, « US assistant attorney Jason McCullough said at a recent hearing on Nordeans’ case. Communicate radios. The Chinese-made devices can be programmed for use on hundreds of frequencies, making them difficult for outsiders to eavesdrop on.
After Tarrio’s arrest, Donohoe expressed concern that their encrypted communications could be « compromised », when the police search the group chairman’s phone under the new indictment. In a January 4 post on a newly created channel, Donohoe warned members that they could « investigate gang charges » and wrote, « Stop everything immediately, » the indictment reads.
One day before During the riot, Biggs published on Boots on the Ground that the group had a « plan » for the night before and the day of the riot, according to the indictment.
In the Nordean case, a federal judge accused prosecutors of their allegations having taken back, instructing the members of Proud Boys to split up into smaller groups and devising a « strategic plan » to violate the Capitol.
« That is a far cry from what I heard at the hearing today « said US District Judge Beryl Howell on March 3rd.
Howell concluded that Nordean was heavily involved in the » pre-planning « of the January 6th events and that he and other proud boys on this day “clearly on one violent confrontation were prepared ”. However, she said evidence that Nordean directed other Proud Boys members to break into the building was « weak to say the least, » and ordered him to be released from prison before the trial.
Ordered on Friday Howell advises that Proud Boys member Christopher Worrell is being held in custody pending riot lawsuit. According to prosecutors, Worrell traveled to Washington and coordinated with the Proud Boys who led to the siege.
« Worrell was wearing tactical gear and was armed with a canister of pepper spray gel that was 67 times stronger than hot sauce. He moved forward, shielded himself behind a wooden platform and other protesters and discharged the gel at the line of the officials, « the prosecution wrote a judicial filing.
Defense attorney John Pierce argued that his client was not targeting officials and was only in the crowd, to exercise his freedom of speech.
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