Proud Boys leader found Guilty of Seditious Conspiracy over Jan 6th


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Leaders of both the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers have now been found guilty in court for this charge

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio was convicted on Thursday of orchestrating a plot for members of his far-right extremist group to attack the U.S. Capitol in a desperate bid to keep Donald Trump in power after the Republican lost the 2020 presidential election.

A jury in Washington, D.C., found Tarrio guilty of seditious conspiracy after hearing from dozens of witnesses over more than three months in one of the most serious cases brought in the stunning attack that unfolded on Jan. 6, 2021, as the world watched on live TV.

It’s a significant milestone for the Justice Department, which has now secured seditious conspiracy convictions against the leaders of two major extremist groups prosecutors say were intent on keeping Democrat Joe Biden out of the White House at all costs. The charge carries a prison sentence of up to 20 years.

Tarrio was a top target of what has become the largest Justice Department investigation in American history. He led the neo-fascist group — known for street fights with left-wing activists — when Trump infamously told the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by” during his first debate with Biden.

Tarrio wasn’t in Washington on Jan. 6, because he had been arrested two days earlier in a separate case and ordered out of the capital city. But prosecutors said he organized and directed the attack by Proud Boys who stormed the Capitol that day.

Prosecutors told jurors the group viewed itself as “Trump’s army” and was prepared for “all-out war” to stop Biden from becoming president.

The Proud Boys were “lined up behind Donald Trump and willing to commit violence on his behalf,” prosecutor Conor Mulroe said in his closing argument.

The backbone of the government’s case was hundreds of messages exchanged by Proud Boys in the days leading up to Jan. 6 that show the far-right extremist group peddling Trump’s false claims of a stolen election and trading fears over what would happen when Biden took office.

As Proud Boys swarmed the Capitol, Tarrio cheered them on from afar, writing on social media: “Do what must be done.” In a Proud Boys encrypted group chat later that day someone asked what they should do next. Tarrio responded: “Do it again.”

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

Defense lawyers denied there was any plot to attack the Capitol or stop Congress’ certification of Biden’s win. A lawyer for Tarrio sought to push the blame onto Trump, arguing the former president incited the pro-Trump mob’s attack when he urged the crowd near the White House to “fight like hell.”

“It was Donald Trump’s words. It was his motivation. It was his anger that caused what occurred on January 6th in your beautiful and amazing city,” attorney Nayib Hassan said in his final appeal to jurors. “It was not Enrique Tarrio. They want to use Enrique Tarrio as a scapegoat for Donald J. Trump and those in power.”

Tarrio, a Miami resident, was charged and tried with four other Proud Boys: Ethan Nordean, Joseph Biggs, Zachary Rehl and Dominic Pezzola. Nordean, of Auburn, Washington, was a Proud Boys chapter leader. Rehl led a group chapter in Philadelphia. Biggs, of Ormond Beach, Florida, was a self-described Proud Boys organizer. Pezzola was a group member from Rochester, New York.

The Justice Department hadn’t tried a seditious conspiracy case in a decade before a jury convicted another extremist group leader, Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes, of the Civil War-era charge last year.

Over the course of two Oath Keepers trials, Rhodes and five other members were convicted of seditious conspiracy for what prosecutors said was a separate plot to forcibly halt the transfer of presidential power from Trump to Biden. Three defendants were acquitted of the sedition charge, but convicted of obstructing Congress’ certification of Biden’s electoral victory.

The Justice Department has yet to disclose how much prison time it will seek when the Oath Keepers are sentenced next month.
The Capitol riot came up several times during Mr Trump's town hall. He teased the idea that he would pardon some of the accused rioters — potentially including members of the Proud Boys far-right gang that were convicted on seditious conspiracy charges.

He even went so far as to call 6 January 2021 a "beautiful day."

In the run-up to his 2024 presidential run, Mr Trump appears to have embraced the rioters. In addition to promising pardons if he is elected, he has released songs featuring the "J6 Prison Choir" and hosted a rally in Waco, Texas, a hot-bed for anti-government sentiment since the Branch Dividian siege in 1993.

Jan. 6 rioter who used a stun gun on Officer Michael Fanone sentenced to prison NPR

The California man who used a stun gun on Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot has been sentenced to 12.5 years in prison, federal prosecutors announced Wednesday.

Daniel Joseph "DJ" Rodriguez, 40, of Fontana, Calif., pled guilty to several charges in February. He was officially sentenced to "conspiracy and obstruction of an official proceeding, obstruction of justice, and assaulting a law enforcement officer with a deadly or dangerous weapon,"
In the fall of 2020, Rodriguez was part of a group that started a Telegram chat called PATRIOTS45MAGA Gang, which brought together supporters of then-President Trump. It "became a forum for Rodriguez's plans for violence against the seat of the federal government," according to court documents.

Rodriguez and other members of the group traveled from California to Washington on Jan. 6, 2021, for a "Stop the Steal" rally on the National Mall. He entered the Capitol and, according to court documents, "video footage taken from the incident depicts Rodriguez at the first set of double doors of the Capitol building facing the police line and deploying a fire extinguisher at the line of officers present."
"After Rodriguez returned to the lower west terrace tunnel, court documents state that video footage taken from the scene of the incident depicts one rioter, Albuquerque Head, wrapping his arm around the neck of an MPD officer and dragging the officer out on to the steps of the lower west terrace," the statement said. "Rodriguez is then seen making his way toward the officer and, with the electroshock weapon in hand, plunging it into the officer's neck. As the officer attempted to escape, court records state that Rodriguez struck again, placing the electroshock weapon on the back of the officer's neck."
After attacking Fanone, Rodriguez entered the Capitol, vandalizing offices, ransacking rooms, breaking windows and stealing items, prosecutors said. During all of this, he continued to update other members of his Telegram group of his assault on Fanone and the other law enforcement officers on scene that day.

In the 29 months since the Jan. 6 riot, more than 1,000 people have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol; nearly 350 people have been charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement. The investigation is ongoing.

Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes, convicted of seditious conspiracy and other felonies, was sentenced to 18 years — the longest sentence so far related to Jan. 6 crimes.
"After Rodriguez returned to the lower west terrace tunnel, court documents state that video footage taken from the scene of the incident depicts one rioter, Albuquerque Head, wrapping his arm around the neck of an MPD officer and dragging the officer out on to the steps of the lower west terrace,"
We're just going to ignore the fact that one of the rioters is named "Albuquerque Head"? With a name like that, can we blame the guy for being disgruntled? But shouldn't he direct that anger at his parents, not the government?

Jan. 6 rioter who used stun gun on Officer Michael Fanone shouts 'Trump won' after he's sentenced to 12½ years​

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson imposed Rodriguez's 151-month sentence, saying he was a “one-man army of hate, attacking police officers and destroying property,” on Jan. 6. Rodriguez was responsible for his own behavior even if Trump had been making "irresponsible and knowingly false claims that the election had been stolen," she said.

Fanone, Jackson said, was "protecting the very essence of democracy," and Rodriguez was "among the most serious offenders" on Jan. 6. "He's not just a follower; he calls for action," Jackson said, referring to Rodriguez's violent rhetoric immediately after Trump lost the 2020 election. Jackson said there was no indication that Rodriguez had any mental or cognitive impairments, referring to him as "a man of average intelligence."

Ahead of his sentencing, Rodriguez spoke for about 20 minutes in a rambling speech, saying he “truly” thought a civil war was going to begin and that he believed the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers formed because police were standing down across the country. He acknowledged his actions against Fanone but stopped short of an apology.

"Life has always seemed unfair to me," Rodriguez said, speaking of inequality in the country before referring to himself as "an American supremacist." If he were allowed to go home, Rodriguez said, he would go back to "driving a forklift with my GED