Federal jury convicts leader of far-right Proud Boys in January 6 Capitol riot case News
© WikiMedia (Tyler Merbler)
Federal jury convicts leader of far-right Proud Boys in January 6 Capitol riot case

A Washington DC federal jury Thursday convicted four members of the far-right Proud Boys on seditious conspiracy charges for their roles in the January 6, 2021 Capitol riot. Among the members were the group’s former president, Enrique Tarrio, Ethan Nordean, Joseph Biggs and Zachary Rehl.

The jury found Tarrio, Nordean, Biggs, and Rehl guilty of seditious conspiracy and conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding. The four, along with co-defendant Dominic Pezzola, were also found guilty of obstructing an official proceeding, conspiracy to prevent Members of Congress and federal law enforcement from discharging their duties, civil disorder and destruction of government property. The seditious conspiracy charge, on its own, carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years, though a judge has not yet sentenced the four defendants.

Speaking at a press conference to announce the convictions, US Attorney General Merrick Garland said, “The Justice Department will never stop working to defend the democracy to which all Americans are entitled.” With these four convictions, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has secured convictions for over 600 people involved in the Capitol riot.

Federal authorities arrested Tarrio in March 2022. Following a grand jury indictment, Tarrio and his co-defendants pleaded not guilty. While awaiting trial, Tarrio asked to be released on bail. However, a federal judge denied his request, citing “clear and convincing evidence” that Tarrio presented a “danger to the community.” The federal trial against Tarrio and his co-defendants began on January 12.

The Proud Boys describe themselves as a “Western chauvinists” group. At the time of the Capitol riot, Tarrio served as the national chairman of the Proud Boys. According to the DOJ, the “Proud Boys played a significant and often violent role” in riots leading up to the January 6, 2021 attack. On the day of the attack, the defendants charged the Capitol building, dismantled barricades, entered the building and attacked law enforcement. In the prosecution against Tarrio and his co-defendants, the DOJ uncovered encrypted messages in which Tarrio and his co-defendants claimed responsibility for the attack.

After the verdict was read, Tarrio’s lawyers indicated they would file an appeal. Depending on if the appeal is filed or not, the judge said sentencing in the case is scheduled for sometime in August.