Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio and four others charged with seditious conspiracy

Proud boys Enrique Tarrio Indicted

On Monday, the Department of Justice charged the chairman of the extremist far-right group the Proud Boys, Enrique Tarrio and four other leaders with seditious conspiracy for Jan 6. Insurrection.

This is by far the most forward charges brought on by the DOJ on the far-right group and the second indictment alleging coordination amongst individuals who swore to break the peaceful transition of power, the first being against the 11 members of the Oath Keepers militia group.

Tarrio and the other leaders pleaded not guilty to previous conspiracy charges. The other four leaders accused are Ethan Nordean, also known as the “sergeant at arms” of the Proud Boys and the current leader of the Proud Boys, since Tarrio was asked to stay out of Washington DC. The others are Joseph Biggs, a self-called organizer of the Proud Boys event, Zachary Rehl, who runs the Philadelphia chapter and Dominic Pezzola, a New York Proud boy also known as “Spaz” and who also allegedly initiated the breach by smashing windows with a stolen police riot shield. 

The 32-page indictment shows new details about what Tarrio said on Jan 6. The five defendants are accused of collaborating to intimidate Congress members and law members and forcing them to flee, thereby putting a halt in their official duties.

Tarrio’s text messages on Jan 6 were revealed by the prosecutors, where he is seemingly comparing the attack to the “Winter Palace”- home to the Russian emperor, which was attacked during the Russian revolution in 1917. 

An unnamed sender sent the following text to Tarrio saying, “Dude. Did we just influence history?”. To this Tarrio responded, “Let’s first see how this plays out.” The unnamed sender then replied back saying, “They HAVE to certify today! Or it’s invalid.”

All the five defendants are set to appear in the court this week. Lawyers for Nordean, Biggs, Rehl and Pezzola claim that these four had no plans whatsoever when they entered the Capitol. Meanwhile, Tarrio’s lawyers are pushing on the fact that he left Washington on January 5 after getting arrested for burning a Black Lives Matter banner in December 2020. 

Rehl’s defense attorney, Carmen Hernandez said, “The worst that has been alleged against Mr. Rehl is that he has associated himself with the Proud Boys, a lawful fraternal association as is his right protected by the First Amendment.” He also added that “to bring such serious charges against Mr. Rehl at this late date without alleging a single new fact against him is simply wrong and deserves a response.

From the Oath Keepers indictment, 3 members pleaded guilty, while the rest pleaded not guilty. In this case, Charles Donohae, a North Carolina Proud Boy pleaded guilty and all these 4 defendants agreed to cooperate with the investigation.