On Monday, Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, the former longstanding chairman of the extremist group Proud Boys, was indicted along with four top lieutenants on a new federal charge of seditious conspiracy. The accusations add to the Justice Department’s allegations of a coordinated effort to prevent President Biden’s election victory from being certified through violence, culminating in a mob attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
Tarrio, 38, was not in the District on that day, but he allegedly directed actions from nearby Baltimore as Proud Boys members engaged in the first and most aggressive attacks to confront and overwhelm police at numerous key sites on the Capitol grounds. Authorities say another defendant, Dominic Pezzola of Rochester, N.Y., used a stolen police riot shield to break through the first window of the building at 2:13 p.m.
Tarrio, Pezzola, and three other existing defendants — Ethan Nordean of Washington, Joe Biggs of Florida, and Zachary Rehl of Pennsylvania — are charged with “opposing the lawful transfer of presidential power by force” in a 10-count superseding indictment returned Monday morning. They eventually mustered and coordinated the movements of as many as 300 people around the Capitol that day. The defendants are accused of inciting and leading a disturbance that engulfed the Capitol, causing Congress to flee as it met to confirm the election results for 2020.
NY Times: Proud Boys Charged with Sedition in Capitol Attack https://t.co/dh8YGDqFfo
— Stat Butler (@stat_butler) June 6, 2022
In the Jan. 6 attack, federal prosecutors charged Stewart Rhodes, the founder and leader of the extremist group Oath Keepers, and 10 others with the historically rare allegation of seditious conspiracy for the first time. Two other defendants, Joshua James of Alabama and Brian Ulrich of Georgia, as well as one other Oath Keeper member, William Todd Wilson of North Carolina, have pleaded guilty to the charge and are cooperating with the Justice Department since the charges were filed in January, a year after the violence.
Charles Donohoe of North Carolina, a Tarrio co-defendant, pled guilty to two felony counts in April, including impeding a congressional official action. His pleading revealed the group’s plans and intentions to sabotage the electoral vote confirmation. Tarrio and the others had previously pleaded not guilty to charges that included conspiracy to obstruct Congress and obstructing police in a civil disorder.
This is Proud Boy terrorist leader Enrique Tarrio posing with familiar hideous faces. He and other Proud Boy leaders were charged today with seditious conspiracy. pic.twitter.com/8mlzsq3Y2n
— Ricky Davila 🏳️🌈 (@TheRickyDavila) June 7, 2022
Seditious conspiracy, punishable by up to 20 years in jail, and conspiracy to hinder an officer from fulfilling any duties are two of the new offenses. On Friday, a new hearing has been scheduled. Rehl’s attorney, Carmen Hernandez, described the prosecutors’ actions ahead of an August trial date as “very heavy-handed” against her client, who she claimed did not commit any violence and was only supposedly involved with the Proud Boys as a matter of his First Amendment right.
“To bring such a serious charge against Mr. Rehl at this late date without alleging a single new fact against him is simply wrong and deserves a response,” Hernandez wrote in a filing.
🚨🚨BREAKING: Enrique Tarrio, longtime chairman of the extremist group Proud Boys has been indicted on a new federal charge of **seditious conspiracy** along with four top Proud Boys members, expanding the cases against them dramatically.
— Spiro Agnew’s Ghost (@SpiroAgnewGhost) June 6, 2022
Tarrio attorney Nayib Hassan said his client “is looking forward to trial and his day in court.”
Prosecutors used the allegations to piece together a larger picture of organizations within extremist groups that shared overlapping, if not identical, goals. Even as the FBI and Justice Department broaden their investigations into former President Donald Trump’s political sphere, the investigations have shown evidence of collusion among entities. In public hearings beginning Thursday, the House select committee probing the Jan. 6 attack is expected to focus on such ties.
CNN: The Justice Department charged the head of the Proud Boys, Enrique Tarrio, and four other leaders with seditious conspiracy, escalating the criminal case against the far-right extremist group.
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) June 6, 2022
Prosecutors have just produced as evidence in the latest case a video of Tarrio, Rhodes, and Kellye Sorelle, an attorney who has worked with the Oath Keepers, meeting in an underground parking garage near the Capitol on the eve of the rioting. Two right-wing leaders were in attendance: Joshua Macias of Vets for Trump, who was slated to speak the next day, and Bianca Gracia of Latinos for Trump, who was a Jan. 6 event organizer with White House ties.