HomeWorld NewsProud Boys trial coming to an finish as jury hears closing arguments

Proud Boys trial coming to an finish as jury hears closing arguments

A historic trial over the lethal U.S. Capitol revolt is drawing to a detailed, with prosecutors and protection attorneys set to make their remaining appeals to jurors earlier than they resolve the destiny of Proud Boys extremist group leaders charged with plotting to make use of pressure to maintain then-President Donald Trump in energy.

A federal jury in Washington, D.C., is scheduled to start listening to closing arguments on Monday after greater than three months of testimony within the seditious conspiracy case towards former Proud Boys nationwide chairman Enrique Tarrio and 4 lieutenants.

Tarrio is without doubt one of the high targets of the Justice Division’s investigation of the riot that erupted on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, as Congress ready to certify Joe Biden’s presidential election victory over Trump. Tarrio wasn’t in Washington, D.C., that day however is accused of orchestrating an assault from afar.

The Justice Division has already secured seditious conspiracy convictions towards the founder and members of one other far-right extremist group, the Oath Keepers. However that is the primary main trial involving leaders of the far-right Proud Boys, a neofacist group of self-described “Western chauvinists” that continues to be a pressure in mainstream Republican circles.

Seditious conspiracy, a Civil Battle-era cost that’s uncommon and will be troublesome to show, carries a possible sentence of as much as 20 years in jail. The Proud Boys additionally face different critical costs.


Jurors have heard 50 days of testimony by greater than three dozen witnesses because the trial began in January. Two of the 5 defendants testified, however Tarrio wasn’t one in every of them.

The inspiration of the federal government’s case is a trove of messages that Proud Boys leaders and members privately exchanged in encrypted chats — and publicly posted on social media — earlier than, throughout and after the Jan. 6 assault.

The messages present Proud Boys celebrating when Trump, a Republican, informed the group to “stand again and stand by” throughout his first debate with Biden, a Democrat. After the 2020 election, they mentioned plans to journey to Washington for Trump’s “Cease the Steal” rally on Jan. 6. And so they raged on-line for weeks about baseless claims of a stolen election and what would occur when Biden took workplace.

“If Biden steals this election, (the Proud Boys) will probably be political prisoners,” Tarrio posted on Nov. 16, 2020. “We received’t go quietly … I promise.”

Jurors additionally noticed the string of gleeful messages that Proud Boys members posted in the course of the Jan. 6 riot. A bunch of Proud Boys marched to the Capitol that day. Some entered the constructing after the mob of Trump supporters overwhelmed police traces.

“Make no mistake,” Tarrio wrote in a single message. “We did this.”

Proud Boys chief Henry “Enrique” Tarrio is pictured throughout a rally in Portland, Oregon, on Sept. 26, 2020. A federal jury is ready to listen to closing arguments within the trial of the Proud Boys, whose leaders have been charged with plotting to make use of pressure to maintain former President Donald Trump in energy. (AP Photograph/Allison Dinner, File)

Tarrio, a Miami resident, is on trial with Ethan Nordean, Joseph Biggs, Zachary Rehl and Dominic Pezzola. Nordean, of Auburn, Washington, was a Proud Boys chapter president. Biggs, of Ormond Seaside, Florida, was a self-described Proud Boys organizer. Rehl was president of a Proud Boys chapter in Philadelphia. Pezzola was a Proud Boys member from Rochester, New York.


Tarrio was arrested in Washington two days earlier than the Jan. 6 riot on costs that he burned a church’s Black Lives Matter banner throughout an earlier march within the metropolis. Tarrio heeded a choose’s order to depart the nation’s capital after his arrest.

Protection attorneys have vigorously argued that there was no conspiracy and that the Proud Boys had no plan to assault the Capitol. And two key prosecution witnesses — onetime Proud Boys cooperating with the federal government — each acknowledged that they didn’t know of any such plan.

The protection attorneys referred to as a number of present and former Proud Boys to the stand, attempting to painting the group as a consuming membership that solely engaged in violence for self-defense towards antifascist activists.

Rehl, the primary defendant to testify, mentioned the group had “no goal” that day. Pezzola testified that he obtained “caught up within the craziness” and acted alone on Jan. 6 when he used a riot defend stolen from a police officer to smash a Capitol window. Pezzola additionally referred to the proceedings as a “corrupt trial” with “faux costs.”

Prosecutors have argued that Tarrio and the others mobilized a loyal group of foot troopers — or “instruments” — to provide the pressure vital to hold out their plot.

Key witnesses for prosecutors included two former Proud Boys members who pleaded responsible to riot-related costs and are cooperating with the federal government within the hopes of getting lighter sentences.

The primary, Matthew Greene, testified in January that group members have been anticipating a “civil warfare” as they grew more and more indignant concerning the election outcomes. The second, Jeremy Bertino, testified in February that he seen the Proud Boys as leaders of the conservative motion and as “the tip of the spear” after the November 2020 election.


Roughly 20 Proud Boys leaders, members and associates have pleaded responsible to costs associated to the Jan. 6 riot. Bertino is the one one to plead responsible to a seditious conspiracy cost.

The Proud Boys’ protection mirrored arguments made by attorneys for members of the Oath Keepers, who have been individually charged with seditious conspiracy. They, too, mentioned there was no proof of a plan for group members to assault the Capitol.

A number of Oath Keepers — together with the antigovernment group’s founder, Stewart Rhodes — additionally took the witness stand of their trials, with blended outcomes. Over the course of two Oath Keepers trials, prosecutors secured seditious conspiracy convictions towards Rhodes and 5 different members, whereas three defendants have been acquitted of the cost. These three, nevertheless, have been convicted of obstructing Congress’ certification of Biden’s electoral victory.

Sentencings for Rhodes and different Oath Keepers are scheduled for subsequent month. Prosecutors have but to reveal how a lot jail time they are going to be looking for.

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