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Old 04-05-23, 18:48   #62
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Movies Re: CAPITOL Riot: LEADER Tarrio & Three Other Proud Boys GUILTY of Seditious Conspira

Four Proud Boys GUILTY of Seditious Conspiracy Over US Capitol riot..

Four members of the far-right Proud Boys, including former leader Enrique Tarrio, have been found guilty of seditious conspiracy for their role in the US Capitol riot.

BBC News 4 MAY 2023

Henry 'Enrique' Tarrio, the former national leader of the Proud Boys

The jury was unable to come to a decision on two charges against a fifth co-defendant.

The verdicts came after a trial lasting nearly four months.

The seditious conspiracy charge alone carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison.

All five defendants were convicted on a range of lesser charges stemming from their activities on 6 January, 2021.
Who are the defendants?

The group's leader at the time of the riot, Henry "Enrique" Tarrio, was at the violent Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017 and became the leader of the Proud Boys the following year.

He's a Cuban-American from Miami, a former Florida director of Latinos for Trump - and off the back of his notoriety made a brief run for Congress in 2020.

Unlike his co-defendants, Tarrio was not in Washington DC during the riot. He faced charges after burning a Black Lives Matter banner that was stolen from a Washington church and was also charged with violating weapons laws. He was arrested two days before the riot, and ordered by a judge to leave the city. He ended up watching events from a hotel room in nearby Baltimore.

The other co-defendants were:

Ethan Nordean, 31, of Washington state, who goes by the alias "Rufio Panman". Nordean was active in street protests and brawls with anti-fascist activists in the Pacific Northwest. In video from 6 January, he was seen leading members of the group around the Capitol

Joe Biggs, 38, of Florida. Biggs is a US Army veteran and former broadcaster for Alex Jones's Infowars. He was pictured next to Nordean throughout the riot

Zachary Rehl, 37, a former US Marine and leader of the Philadelphia branch of the Proud Boys

Dominic Pezzola, 44, of Rochester in New York state. Pezzola, also a former US Marine, was one of the first people to reach one of the entrances to the Capitol, where he took a riot shield off a police officer and smashed a window. The jury could not reach a decision on charges of seditious conspiracy and conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding against Pezzola

Proud Boys gathered near the Washington Monument on the morning of the riot before making their way to the Capitol. More than 100 members of the group were present that day, and dozens have subsequently been arrested.

In court, prosecutors introduced a large volume of text messages, social media posts and videos to prove that the group's actions amounted to a co-ordinated plot to try to stop the certification of the 2020 election result.

The Proud Boys repeatedly posted a number of violent threats online. For instance, in November 2020, Tarrio wrote on a post by Joe Biden: "YOU need to remember the American people are at war with YOU. No Trump…No peace. No quarter."

Others posted about civil war, firing squads and "traitors".

The trial took more than twice as long as expected and was delayed by slow jury selection, motions for mistrial by defence lawyers, numerous arguments over witnesses and evidence, and concerns about possible juror intimidation.

Lawyers for the defendants argued that the group was poorly organised, mostly non-violent, and that there was no preconceived plan to storm the building.

They also noted that Tarrio, a long-time police informant, was in touch with Washington police before 6 January and informed an officer of the group's plans for the day.

In closing arguments their lawyers placed the blame on Donald Trump, saying they merely followed his suggestion to show up in Washington DC on 6 January.

"'Be there, it's going to be wild,' the commander-in-chief said. And so they did," said Norm Pattis, an attorney for Biggs, referencing one of Mr Trump's tweets.

Proud Boys, many wearing orange hats, along with other rioters outside the US Capitol on 6 January 2021

Who are Proud Boys?

The Proud Boys were founded in New York City in 2016 by Gavin McInnes, a co-founder of Vice who left the media company to embark on a career as a right-wing commentator and podcaster.

They describe themselves as an all-male drinking club, or a "pro-Western fraternal organisation".

But they became better known for their frequent brawls with left-wing anti-fascist activists in cities across the US.

In a 2019 BBC documentary, Proud Boys based in Portland, Oregon, boasted about arrests and street fighting.

They achieved mainstream fame after a presidential debate in September 2020. During a discussion about extremism, Joe Biden mentioned the organisation.

Donald Trump responded by saying: "Proud Boys, stand back and stand by."

Video of the debate was aired in court, and defence lawyers unsuccessfully attempted to subpoena Mr Trump in an apparent attempt to argue the defendants were following presidential orders on 6 January, 2021.

Proud Boys have continued to hold events and protests since January 2021

What is Seditious Conspiracy?

Under US law, seditious conspiracy is defined as a plot to overthrow the government or use force "to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States".

It is a rarely used law that dates from the US Civil War. Last year two leaders of the Oath Keepers - one of the other major organised groups present at the Capitol riot - were convicted in the first successful prosecution for seditious conspiracy since 1995. Three other members of that militia were acquitted of the charge during last year's trial.

Seditious conspiracy is less serious than treason, which is the only crime specifically spelled out in the US Constitution and requires a high standard of proof - the testimony of at least two witnesses in open court or a confession.

Treason can also be punishable by the death penalty.



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