Federal prosecutors have charged Henry “Enrique” Tarrio and other leaders of the far-right Proud Boys with seditious conspiracy over the Capitol riot.
According to the Washington Post, the group’s longtime leader, Tarrio, and four of his chief lieutenants—Joe Biggs, Ethan Nordean, Dominic Pezzola and Zachary Rehl—were charged with seditious conspiracy on Monday morning. All were already facing multiple charges associated with the failed attempt to overturn the 2020 election results in favor of former President Donald Trump.
Prosecutors allege that the five coordinated travel to Washington, D.C. and actions the day of the riot. They’re also charged with plotting to instigate a riot and storm Congress.
“On Jan. 6, 2021, the defendants directed, mobilized and led members of the crowd onto the Capitol grounds and into the Capitol, leading to dismantling of metal barricades, destruction of property, breaching of the Capitol building, and assaults on law enforcement,” the Justice Department said in a release Monday.
“During and after the attack, Tarrio and his co-defendants claimed credit for what had happened on social media and in an encrypted chat room.”
Tarrio wasn’t in Washington, D.C. during the Capitol riot, having been banned from the city by a court on a different charge. Prosecutors claim he conducted the events of that day from afar.
Amid infighting and loyalty accusations, Tarrio stepped down from his leadership role in the Proud Boys earlier this year.
He and the others charged have previously asserted their innocence. It’s unknown how they plan to plea to the seditious conspiracy charge.
To prove that the Proud Boys are guilty of seditious conspiracy, prosecutors must convince the court that the defendants conspired to overthrow, disrupt, hinder, or oppose the government.
According to the Justice Department, a sixth Proud Boy originally charged with the others pled guilty in April.
The seditious conspiracy charges against the Proud Boys follows the Justice Department charging leaders and associates of the far-right Oath Keepers, a self-styled militia, with the same crime. The Post reports that three of those previously accused of seditious conspiracy have pled guilty and are cooperating with the government.
A video showed members of both groups, including Tarrio and Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes, meeting in a parking garage near Capitol Hill the night before Jan. 6, 2021.
Tarrio and the other four are due in court on June 9.
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*First Published: Jun 6, 2022, 4:17 pm CDT
Claire Goforth is a staff writer at the Daily Dot covering all things politics and technology with a focus on the far right and conspiracy theories.