Four Proud Boys were found guilty Thursday of seditious conspiracy for their role in the January 6 attack on the Capitol, following four months of court proceedings.
Proud Boys chairman Enrique Tarrio and members Joseph Biggs, Ethan Nordean and Zachary Rehl were each found guilty Thursday of seditious conspiracy, though the jury failed to reach a verdict on the charge against Dominic Pezzola.
All four could face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
Prosecutors argued Tarrio organized and directed an attack on the Capitol by members of the organization, citing messages between the defendants that indicated the group would keep former President Donald Trump in power “by any means necessary, including force.”
Attorneys representing Tarrio argued the group had no plan to attack the Capitol, and that Trump—who urged protestors to “fight like hell”—had provoked the riot, according to the Associated Press.
A sixth Proud Boys member, Charles Donohoe, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding and assaulting, resisting or impeding officers in April 2022.
Prosecutor Conor Mulroe said in his closing argument that the organization was “lined up behind Donald Trump and willing to commit violence on his behalf,” according to the Washington Post.
Charges of sedition or treason are historically rare in the U.S., according to the Associated Press. Prior to trials involving members of the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers—another far-right organization charged in connection to the Capitol riots—fewer than 12 Americans had ever been convicted.
The group was formed in 2016 by Vice cofounder Gavin McInnis, who cast the all-male group was a club for “Western Chauvinists.” Some members of the far-right group were known for their involvement in street brawls and tense face-offs with left-leaning protesters. The Justice Department charged Tarrio and four other Proud Boys in June 2022, more than a year after rioters at the Capitol tried to disrupt the certification of President Joe Biden’s election win on January 6, 2021. Prosecutors argued Tarrio—who was not present during the riot following an arrest two days earlier—and the four other members had claimed credit for the Capitol attack, citing messages on social media and an encrypted chat room. Nayib Hassan, an attorney representing Tarrio, argued Tarrio was used as “a scapegoat for Donald J. Trump and those in power.” The group was previously referenced by Trump during a debate in September 2020, when he told the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by,” adding, “Somebody’s got to do something about antifa and the left.”
The trial faced several hurdles over its 15 weeks, including the introduction of new evidence and concerns one juror was being followed. The juror told the court someone had approached her to ask if she was a juror, though other jurors speculated the validity of her claims. Other jurors said they were “accosted” during the trial, according to CNN.
Oath Keepers Trial: Four More Members Found Guilty Of Seditious Conspiracy In Jan. 6 Case (Forbes)
Oath Keepers Trial: Founder Steward Rhodes Found Guilty Of Seditious Conspiracy — In A First Since 1995 (Forbes)
Juror In Proud Boys Trial Reportedly Raised Concerns She’s Being Followed (Forbes)
Recently, four members of the controversial far-right men’s group, the Proud Boys, were found guilty of conspiring to overtake the US Capitol building on January 6.
Fifty-four-year-old Ethan Nordean of Washington State, 38-year-old Joseph Biggs of Florida, and Army vet 38-year-old Dominic Pezzola of New York, were all undeniably found guilty of conspiracy to impede police officers during the attack.
In addition, Proud Boys founder and leader, Enrique Tarrio of Florida, was found guilty of destruction of property, which included the burning of a Black Lives Matter sign that was hanging on the Capitol Building.
The four Proud Boys had been reportedly plotting to obstruct the electoral proceedings since December 4, 2020, in order to communicate their disgusting white supremacists views and further their political agenda.
The attack caused chaos and destruction all over the Capitol, causing further division and violence in the US. The trial itself proved to be a long, tumultuous affair as many more prosecutions of the more than 430 arrested on January 6 are still ongoing. Among those, many were associated with the Proud Boys, and the case against these four members just opened the door for justice to be served against them.
The next phase of this trial will now head to the sentencing phase and these four figures of the Proud Boys, who abused their power for the purpose of inciting violence and division, will now be held responsible for their actions and pay for their crimes.
This case against the Proud Boys and the fate of the four members, who were found guilty of their seditious conspiracy, sends a clear message that the justice system won’t tolerate instances of mob violence and lawlessness and that all rioters involved in the attack will be held to account.