On Monday, the seditious conspiracy trial of six Proud Boys members devolved into a spectacle that one reporter referred to as “cringey.”
The “cringey” evidence, according to Politico’s Kyle Cheney, took place when Proud Boy Zach Rehl’s lawyer, Carmen Hernandez questioned a witness about the group’s “no wanks” policy, which is contained in the group’s manual and lays tight restrictions on the act of masturbation.
“A Proud Boy may not ejaculate alone more often than once every thirty days,” the manual states. “That means he must abstain from pornography during that time and if he needs to ejaculate it must be within one yard of a woman with her consent. The woman may not be a prostitute.”
According to the guideline, Proud Boys are not even permitted to use Zoom calls to talk to their wives as “a way around the one-yard rule.”
Legal reporters, as well as attorney Norm Pattis, who is defending Proud Boy Joe Biggs, questioned the decision to ask witnesses about masturbation.
“Did we really talk about masturbation in Proud Boys trial today?” he asked on Twitter.
The Proud Boys have repeatedly made political headlines since Trump’s 2015 presidential campaign. Most recently, the former chairman of the Proud Boys, Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, a co-conspirator has chosen to plead guilty to seditious conspiracy after reaching an agreement and entering into a deal with prosecutors.
The Washington Post reported that the details of the plea came to light amidst a pretrial hearing as pressure rises against Tarrio and four other defendants who are set to face trial in December, also on charges of seditious conspiracy. Furthermore, as the hearing in the federal court of Washington went on, Tarrio’s defense attorney Sabino Jauregui explained that forty-four-year-old John Charles Stewart of Carlisle, Pennsylvania had pleaded guilty back in June.
Following an interjection from prosecutors, The Washington Post reports that U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Kelly swiftly put a pause on the public session in order to go behind closed doors. When sessions were resumed, there was no further mention of Stewart.
Back in October, Proud Boys affiliate Jeremy Bertino also chose to plead guilty to seditious conspiracy as part of a deal with federal prosecutors that mandates his ongoing and continuous cooperation.
The revelation of Stewart’s plea deal matches court records that show a defendant expected to plead guilty and cooperate with investigators in relation to Tarrio and four crucial lieutenants of the Proud Boys was charged on June 10. Tarrio and his associates currently stand accused of planning and preparing to stand in direct opposition to the lawful transfer of power between former U.S. President Donald Trump and current President Joe Biden.
While unidentified in the court filings, the defendant now known to be John Charles Stewart was charged with conspiring to obstruct an official proceeding of Congress, according to court records.
Originally, those records were easily accessible and were posted publicly by the court, but have since been removed from the public’s view. The same crime was admitted and pleaded guilty to by Charles Donohoe, Matthew Greene, and two other affiliates of the Proud Boys who have chosen to cooperate with investigators.