The Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Credit: Screenshot, CNN.
Jury selection began this week in Washington D.C. in the trial of Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, the Miami-based former national chairman of the Proud Boys organization and four of his associates.
All five men have been charged in an (at least) nine-count indictment involved with their association with events on and before Jan. 6, 2021 at the U.S. Capitol, including seditious conspiracy.
According to the third superseding indictment issued on June 6 by a federal grand jury from the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Tarrio, Joseph Biggs, Ethan Nordean, Zachary Rehl and Dominic Pezzola are all affiliated with being members of the Proud Boys organization and are charged with conspiracy to oppose the lawful transfer of presidential power by force.
Biggs is the other Floridian in the group – he hails from Ormond Beach in Central Florida.
Among the accusations the U.S. government has made about the men is that they obtained paramilitary gear and supplies for the Jan. 6 attack; that they all traveled to Washington D.C. before Jan. 6; that they engaged in meetings and encrypted communications in Washington D.C. in the days leading up to Jan. 6 and on the morning of Jan. 6; that they were directing, mobilizing, and leading members of the crowd onto Capitol grounds and into the Capitol and that they assaulted law enforcement officers on that day.
All five have pleaded not guilty and their attorneys maintain that their actions were constitutionally protected free speech. Four of the accused are facing a nine-count indictment; defendant Dominic Pezzola is the only defendant facing 10 counts.
Tarrio has remained in custody since he was originally indicted on March 8 on several charges related to the events of Jan 6. Although he is not accused of physically taking part in the breach in the Capitol, the original indictment alleged that he led the advance planning and remained in contact with other members of the Proud Boys during their breach of the Capitol.
On May 27, U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly denied Tarrio bail, writing that “’by clear and convincing evidence’ that because of the prospective danger to the community that Tarrio presents, that ‘no condition or combination of conditions will reasonably assure the safety of any other person and the community.’”
The five defendants are among the more than 900 people arrested related to crimes committed at the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C. on Jan.6, 2021.
Along with the Proud Boys, the other major right-wing group that has been accused by the government of actively attempting to disrupt the transfer of power in Washington on Jan. 6 is the Oath Keepers.
Last month the former Florida head of the Oath Keepers, Kelly Meggs, along with Stewart Rhodes, the founder and national leader of the Oath Keepers , were found guilty of seditious conspiracy and other charges for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan, 6, 2021. The two men are now facing a maximum 20-year sentence.
Former U.S. Army soldier and Tampa resident Jeremy Brown is an unindicted co-conspirator in the Oath Keepers trial in Washington D.C. He allegedly organized a trip to Washington with other Oath Keeper members days before the storming of the Capitol. “Prior to the riots, he deposited guns with individuals in Virginia and retrieved them after the riots,” according to a U.S. Department of Justice “statement of facts” report.
Brown was found guilty by a federal jury in Tampa last week on six of 10 counts for possession of illegally registered guns, grenades and secret national security documents that were found in his home and RV in a search by federal agents on Sept. 29, 2021.
Brown was originally arrested for being outside the Capitol on Jan.6, 2021 and charged with two misdemeanors in Washington D.C. That trial is expected to be scheduled after he is sentenced for his charges in Tampa on March 13, 2023.
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