A jury in D.C., has decided to convict four of the five Proud Boys accused of seditious conspiracy in connection with the Jan. 6 incident at the U.S. Capitol after six days of deliberation.
Enrique Tarrio, who was the former leader of the Proud Boys, and fellow chapter leaders Joseph Biggs, Zachary Rehl, and Ethan Nordean were convicted of the unusual crime. Dominic Pezzola, an original member of the Proud Boys in Rochester, NY, avoided a seditious conspiracy conviction for the time being but was slammed with lesser charges.
“The jury agreed that the government had demonstrated that there had been a seditious conspiracy,” Kyle Cheney of POLITICO said this week, adding that Tarrio, Biggs, Nordean, and Rehl were convicted of the unusual charge, which has a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
“All defendants except PEZZOLA were also found guilty with conspiracy to obstruct Congress,” Cheney said. “The jury appears to be deadlocked regarding Pezzola on both of the first two counts. ALL defendants, including PEZZOLA, are, nonetheless, guilty of genuine obstruction of Congress.”
All five of the defendants were also found guilty of the obstruction of a governmental proceeding, conspiracy to stop Congress as well as federal officers from carrying out their duties, interfering with law enforcement amid a civil disturbance, and destroying government property.
On January 6, the lone defendant that was accused of violence was Pezzola, who was a member of Rochester, New York’s Proud Boys. He allegedly used an officer’s riot shield to smash a glass pane on the western front of the United States Capitol. Pezzola was arrested in Jan. 2021 and has been in prison ever since.
Tarrio, who has garnered the greatest attention in this issue, was not even present in Washington, D.C. on the actual day of the breach. The prosecution used largely private and some public texts from Tarrio throughout the trial to demonstrate the former leader accepting responsibility for the disturbance. Tarrio, for example, stated in one communication, “Make no mistake… we did this.”
The government also produced “1776 Returns,” a paper describing a Capitol takeover that was provided to Tarrio through Telegram. Tarrio did not react immediately to the emailed paper, claiming he never even saw it, or even opened it.