Court filing alleges “outrageous government misconduct” with key document
The most damning piece of evidence in the trial of five members of the Proud Boys was created by the U.S. intelligence community and planted on defendant Enrique Tarrio to frame him and others for alleged Jan. 6 crimes, an explosive defense motion alleges.
Filed on Feb. 10 by an attorney for Proud Boys defendant Dominic Pezzola, the motion asks U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly to declare a mistrial due to “outrageous government misconduct.”
The controversy surrounds a document titled “1776 Returns” that federal prosecutors contend is a blueprint for the Proud Boys to attack the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. That document was messaged to Tarrio, although defense attorneys say there is no evidence he opened, read, or forwarded it.
“It appears that the government itself is the author of the most incriminating and damning document in this case, which was mysteriously sent at government request to Proud Boy leader Enrique Tarrio immediately prior to January 6 in order to frame or implicate Tarrio in a government-created scheme to storm buildings around the Capitol,” defense attorney Roger Roots wrote in a seven-page document filed with the court.
Charged in the case are Tarrio, Pezzola, Zachary Rehl, Ethan Nordean, and Joseph Biggs. The Proud Boys defendants are on trial in the U.S. District Court in Washington, accused of seditious conspiracy, conspiracy to obstruct official proceedings, obstruction of official proceedings, and conspiracy to prevent certain federal officers from performing their duties on January 6. Tarrio, Rehl, Nordean, and Biggs face nine criminal counts, while Pezzola is charged with 10.
The trial is about to enter its fifth week in Kelly’s courtroom.
On Feb. 9, FBI Special Agent Peter Dubrowski testified that the “1776 Returns” document was sent to Tarrio on the messenger chat app Telegram by Erika Flores, an “erstwhile romantic interest,” on or around Dec. 29, 2020.