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Proud Boys Charged With Sedition in Capitol Attack


Enrique Tarrio, the previous chairman of the Proud Boys, and 4 other members of the far-right group were indicted on Monday for seditious conspiracy in reference to the storming of the Capitol in January 2021, essentially the most serious criminal charges to be brought within the Justice Department’s sprawling investigation of the assault.

The sedition charges against Mr. Tarrio and his co-defendants — Joseph Biggs, Ethan Nordean, Zachary Rehl and Dominic Pezzola — got here in an amended indictment that was unsealed in Federal District Court in Washington. The lads had already been charged in an earlier indictment filed in March with conspiring to obstruct the certification of the 2020 presidential election, which took place during a joint session of Congress on Jan. 6, 2021.

It was not immediately clear what evidence led to the brand new charges against the members of the Proud Boys, who were central in the trouble to storm the Capitol and help forestall President Donald J. Trump’s defeat.

One other Proud Boy lieutenant who was originally charged with the lads, Charles Donohoe, pleaded guilty in April and is cooperating with the federal government’s inquiry into the group. Across the time of Mr. Tarrio’s arrest this spring, federal investigators searched the homes — and seized the phones — of three other high-ranking Proud Boys identified as unindicted co-conspirators within the case, but none of them have been publicly charged.

A charge of seditious conspiracy requires prosecutors to prove that force was used either to overthrow the federal government or to interfere with the execution of federal law.

The one other defendants within the Capitol riot investigation to have faced a seditious conspiracy charge to this point are Stewart Rhodes, the leader of the Oath Keepers militia, and 10 of his subordinates. Prosecutors say that Mr. Rhodes led a conspiracy to forcibly stop the lawful transition of presidential power by sending men into the Capitol on Jan. 6 and by establishing a heavily armed “quick response force” outside of Washington that was prepared to rush to assistance from their compatriots on the constructing.

Unlike Mr. Rhodes, Mr. Tarrio was not in Washington on Jan. 6. He had been ordered to depart town by a neighborhood judge two days earlier, after being charged with burning a Black Lives Matter banner at a church during a spree of violence that had followed a special pro-Trump rally in December.

Federal prosecutors have said that although Mr. Tarrio was not accused of “physically collaborating within the breach of the Capitol,” he had nonetheless “led the advance planning and remained involved with other members of the Proud Boys” throughout the storming of the constructing.

Prosecutors have claimed, as an illustration, that Mr. Tarrio had issued orders before the attack for members of the group to depart behind their traditional black-and-yellow polo shirts and remain “incognito” after they arrived in Washington on Jan. 6. Mr. Tarrio also helped create a “command and control structure” for the group on a non-public Telegram group chat called the Ministry of Self Defense, prosecutors say.

Because the riot on the Capitol unfolded, Mr. Tarrio appeared to take credit for the Proud Boys’ role in what was happening. “We did this,” he wrote at one point on the Telegram group chat.

Lawyers for Mr. Tarrio and the opposite men have repeatedly claimed there isn’t a evidence that they conspired prematurely to storm the Capitol. By organising a “Ministry of Self Defense” group chat and taking other measures like acquiring protective gear, the Proud Boys had simply been attempting to guard themselves against leftist activists with whom they’d scuffled before, at earlier events in Washington, the lawyers said.

The Proud Boys may even be featured when the House committee investigating Jan. 6 holds its initial public hearing Thursday night. The committee intends to present live testimony from Nick Quested, a documentary filmmaker who was embedded with the group throughout the riot, and from Caroline Edwards, a Capitol Police officer who was injured in an assault earlier that day said to have been triggered by the Proud Boys.

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