Prosecutors fill in details of Proud Boys assault on Capitol

Members are alleged to have dressed “incognito” on Jan. 6, then fanned out to prevent law enforcement from identifying them en masse.

3/2/2021 7:50:00 PM

Prosecutors are beginning to fill in the details of the Proud Boys assault on the Capitol, revealing details about their financing, planning and operations in a new court filing against leader Ethan Nordean

Members are alleged to have dressed “incognito” on Jan. 6, then fanned out to prevent law enforcement from identifying them en masse.

“All of this mayhem plainly envisioned that those carrying out Defendant’s stated vision — the reawakening of 1776 — would at least attempt to destroy federal government property and force their way inside the building,” the government brief said. “There was simply no other way for them to enter the Capitol building.”

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According to the filing, Nordean met his Proud Boy cohorts at the Washington Monument the morning of Jan. 6 and led them — dressed in all black instead of the Proud Boys’ typical colors — while wielding a bullhorn. He was at the front of the lines when the first barricades were breached.

Nordean was spotted consorting with Robert Gieswein, a non-Proud Boy who carried a bat at the riot. Gieswein “would later rally to a location where Proud Boy Dominic Pezzola broke open a window with a riot shield.” Pezzola, who was in court earlier Monday fighting his own detention, was among those who purchased a radio to communicate with allies that day, prosecutors said during his hearing.

Gieswein’s participation was part of what prosecutors described as an intentional effort to recruit and rely on non-Proud Boys or — “normies” and “normiecons,” in Proud Boy parlance — to join in the Capitol siege.Prosecutors also sketched out the early evidence of a money trail behind the Proud Boys’ efforts.

They cite direct messages on social media that Nordean exchanged with an individual in December wishing to donate a tactical vest. In addition to public, crowdsourced efforts to obtain equipment, Nordean also exchanged private messages with people about how to effectively use “military-style communications equipment,” prosecutors say. And he received pledges of equipment from at least two other individuals, including bear mace and steel plates. In addition, authorities say that on Jan. 2 and 3, Nordean communicated with someone who wanted to contribute $1,000 to the Proud Boys’ “travel fund.”

The case represents a leap forward in evidence about the Proud Boys’ role following an increasingly developed case against another militia group, the Oath Keepers, who also had a significant presence at the Capitol that day.Pezzola, whose alleged actions became famous during the Senate impeachment trial against Trump last month, has been kept in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day as he fights his detention, his attorney Jonathan Zucker said in court on Monday afternoon. Pezzola, seen in footage smashing a Capitol window with a police riot shield, is urging the court to release him by claiming that he was duped by Trump into attacking the Capitol, that he has renounced his role in the Proud Boys and that his conduct was an aberration in an otherwise law-abiding life.

But the federal judge in that case, Timothy Kelly, said Pezzola’s actions may be so egregious that even if they were an aberration, he might weigh in favor of detention.“It was an almost unique attack on the crown jewel of our country, the peaceful transfer of power,” Kelly said. “When you put it that way, and I think it’s very fair to put it that way, it’s almost a unique assault on America, on American history.”

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Prosecutors in that case said evidence that Pezzola planned his role in the attack for weeks, and that he showed no evidence of remorse until he was apprehended, suggests he might be persuaded to participate in other violent acts if released.In alate-evening reply,

Nordean’s attorney David Smith ripped prosecutors’ claims about his client as “an insult to the intelligence of anyone reading the government’s filing.”Smith contends that in addition to falling short of legal standards to describe Nordean’s actions at the Capitol, it relies on innuendo and sweeping, but unsupported, statements to suggest Nordean played any role in damaging a Capitol window or orchestrating the Proud Boys offensive on Congress.

“[T]he Court will notice that the government scarcely references any action by Nordean specifically,” Smith wrote. “That is perhaps because there is evidence positively showing that Nordean did not endorse, much less lead, an invasion of the Capitol Building.”

Smith also contends Nordean purchased his Baofeng radio after Jan. 6, posting an image of an Amazon receipt showing the device delivered on Jan. 7 (though it was purchased on Dec. 29). He also cast doubt on Nordean’s ability to lead the Proud Boys throughout the day of the insurrection because Nordean’s phone was dead, a fact he said investigators were aware of beforehand.

Lastly, Smith countered what he called prosecutors’ “bizarre” claim that Nordean was a flight risk because of another man’s passport discovered on his nightstand. Nordean has previously contended that the passport belonged to his wife’s former partner, and Smith provides a photo of the man to underscore that they don’t resemble each other.

“Agents did not find the passport on ‘Defendant’s side of the bed,’ but instead inside a jewelry box,” Smith adds. “The jewelry box is not in Nordean’s possession. It belongs to his wife. Of these facts, the government was aware, or should have been aware, before it made misleading representations to multiple courts concerning the defendant’s risk of flight.”

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The government’s brief also continues to advance an argument by prosecutors that alleged Capitol rioters charged with an archaic-sounding crime — depredation of government property — are accused of a crime of violence, which would trigger a presumption that they should be detained pending trial.

“The three means of committing a depredation — robbing, plundering, and pillaging — all require the use of force,” prosecutors wrote. “To the degree that depredation might be understood to encompass non-forceful thefts, [the law’s] plain language and legislative history make clear that is not how Congress was using the term in that statute.”

However, defense attorneys have argued that the law against depredation encompasses actions that would be considered merely vandalism, not violence. During a hearing last week,one noted that federal prosecutors in Washington last year obtained an indictment of a Black Lives Matter

protester for spray painting the words “Yall not tired yet?” on an outcropping of the Lincoln Memorial.The debate on the question of whether the crime always involved violence may end up being academic. Since the law carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison for damage exceeding $1,000, it appears that it triggers another provision that presumes detention is appropriate for people facing charges that carry the potential of 10 years or more behind bars.

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Skankbones2 We all know who planned and incited January 6 violence. When will the FBI arrest them? Can't argue with the facts. Bottomline GOP & tRump rounded up & paid 4the Supremists groups 2attend the rally Connecting the dots w money paid & cell phone tings The GPS on the phone shows where they were That is GUILT That is why GOP & tRump don't want the FBI to have that Tool But all are glad 2be Alive

The GOP is trying to run away from the proud boys and all the other right-wing nut balls and are saying it was left wing Excellent ! Trump's boys will be going to prisons. This may be true but concentrating on one group when there were hundreds allows many to go unidentified. Just a lay person's point of view here, it sounds like we need laws on the books both federal and state specifically naming ' domestic terrorism '.

'Standing back and standing by'... LOL