WASHINGTON—Four members of the Proud Boys were convicted on May 4 of seditious conspiracy for their roles in the Jan. 6, 2021, breach of the U.S. Capitol.
Jurors found Enrique Tarrio, Ethan Nordean, Joe Biggs, and Zachary Rehl guilty of seditious conspiracy, which carries a prison sentence of up to 20 years.
Those four defendants were also convicted of conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding.
They, along with co-defendant Dominic Pezzola, were convicted of conspiracy to prevent an officer from discharging duties, obstruction of law enforcement, and destruction of government property, putting additional decades in prison in play.
Pezzola was also found guilty of robbery of U.S. property, a charge the four others weren’t facing.
Tarrio was convicted despite not being in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021.
Rehl’s attorney, Carmen Hernandez, said her client “continues to maintain his innocence.” Lawyers for Biggs and Pezzola declined to comment. An attorney for Tarrio declined to comment.
Jurors in the federal trial in Washington returned a partial verdict and were sent back to deliberate on the remaining charges, including Pezzola’s seditious conspiracy charge.
The Proud Boys has described itself as “a pro-Western fraternal organization for men who refuse to apologize for creating the modern world” and became known for helping provide security for pro-Donald Trump events after brawling with members of the Antifa network in various locales. Tarrio was the head of the group. Rehl was president of a chapter. Nordean, Biggs, and Pezzola were members.
Prosecutors had alleged that the Proud Boys planned and carried out plans to stop the transfer of power to Joe Biden by disrupting Congress, which was certifying electoral votes from the 2020 election.
Prosecutors told jurors the group viewed itself as “Trump’s army” and was prepared for “all-out war” to stop Biden from becoming president.
The Proud Boys were “lined up behind Donald Trump and willing to commit violence on his behalf,” prosecutor Conor Mulroe said in his closing argument.
Defense lawyers denied there was any plot to attack the Capitol or stop Congress’ certification of Biden’s win. A lawyer for Tarrio sought to push the blame onto Trump, arguing that the former president incited the breach when he urged the crowd near the White House to “fight like hell.” Trump also said in the speech that people should be “peaceful” and “patriotic.”
The case went to the jury after U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly, the judge overseeing the trial, rejected multiple motions for dismissal.
Four members of the Oath Keepers, another group, were convicted of seditious conspiracy in January in connection to their actions on Jan. 6, 2021.
Seditious conspiracy is defined in federal law as two or more persons conspiring to “overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
By Joseph Lord and Zachary Stieber