Ex-Proud Boys leader Tarrio guilty of January 6 riot plot

The Justice Department has now secured seditious conspiracy convictions against the leaders of two major extremist groups.

(Noah Berger | AP file photo) Proud Boys chairman Enrique Tarrio gathers in Portland, Oregon on August 17, 2019. A federal jury is set to hear a second day of closing arguments from attorneys in the landmark trial of former Proud Boys leaders of extremist groups are accused of plotting to violently stop the president’s transfer of power after the 2020 election.

washington • Former Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio was convicted Thursday of orchestrating a conspiracy for members of his far-right group to attack the US Capitol in a desperate bid to keep Donald Trump in power after the Republican lost the 2020 presidential election.

A Washington, DC jury found Tarrio guilty of seditious conspiracy after more than three months of hearing from dozens of witnesses in one of the most serious cases leading up to the stunning attack that unfolded on January 6, 2021, while the world was watching live television.

It’s a significant milestone for the Justice Department, which has now secured seditious conspiracy convictions against leaders of two major extremist groups, say prosecutors intent on keeping Democrat Joe Biden out of the White House at all costs. The charge carries a possible prison sentence of up to 20 years.

Tarrio was one of the primary targets of what is now the largest Justice Department investigation in American history. He was leading the neo-fascist group – known for street fighting with left-wing activists – when Trump infamously told the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by” during his first debate with Biden.

Tarrio was not in Washington on Jan. 6, but prosecutors said he organized and directed the Proud Boys’ attack, which stormed the Capitol.

Defenders said there was no plan to attack the Capitol or stop Congressional confirmation of Biden’s victory. A lawyer for Tarrio tried to pin the blame on Trump, arguing that the former president instigated the attack by the pro-Trump mob when he urged crowds near the White House to “fight like hell.”

Tarrio, a Miami resident, was charged and brought to trial with four other Proud Boys: Ethan Nordean, Joseph Biggs, Zachary Rehl and Dominic Pezzola. Nordean of Auburn, Washington was a chapter leader of the Proud Boys. Rehl led a group chapter in Philadelphia. Biggs of Ormond Beach, Florida was a self-proclaimed organizer of the Proud Boys. Pezzola was a group member from Rochester, New York.

Justin Scaccy

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