A federal choose has refused to throw out an indictment charging 4 alleged leaders of the far-right Proud Boys with conspiring to assault the U.S. Capitol to cease Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s electoral victory
A federal choose refused to dismiss an indictment charging 4 alleged leaders of the far-right Proud Boys with conspiring to assault the U.S. Capitol to cease Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s electoral victory.
U.S. District Choose Timothy Kelly on Tuesday rejected protection attorneys’ arguments that the 4 males — Ethan Nordean, Joseph Biggs, Zachary Rehl and Charles Donohoe — are charged with conduct that’s protected by the First Modification proper to free speech.
Kelly mentioned the defendants had many nonviolent methods to specific their opinions in regards to the 2020 presidential election.
“Defendants usually are not, as they argue, charged with something like burning flags, sporting black armbands, or collaborating in mere sit-ins or protests,” Kelly wrote in his 43-page ruling. “Furthermore, even when the charged conduct had some expressive facet, it misplaced no matter First Modification safety it might have had.”
Nordean, Biggs, Rehl and Donohoe had been indicted in March on costs together with conspiracy and obstructing an official continuing. All 4 of them stay jailed whereas they await a trial scheduled for Might.
Protection legal professionals additionally argued that the obstruction cost does not apply to their purchasers’ instances as a result of Congress’ certification of the Electoral School vote was not an “official continuing.” Kelly disagreed.
Earlier this month, one other choose within the District of Columbia’s federal court docket upheld prosecutors’ use of the identical obstruction cost in a separate case towards two riot defendants.
The case towards Nordean, Biggs, Rehl and Donohoe is a spotlight of the Justice Division’s sprawling investigation of the Jan. 6 rebellion. Greater than three dozen folks charged within the Capitol siege have been recognized by federal authorities as Proud Boys leaders, members or associates, together with at the least 16 defendants charged with conspiracy.
Final Wednesday, a New York man pleaded responsible to storming the U.S. Capitol with fellow Proud Boys members. Matthew Greene is the first Proud Boys member to publicly plead responsible to conspiring with different members to cease Congress from certifying the Electoral School vote. He agreed to cooperate with authorities.
Different extremist group members have been charged with conspiring to hold out coordinated assaults on the Capitol, together with greater than 20 folks linked to the antigovernment Oath Keepers.
Nordean, of Auburn, Washington, was a Proud Boys chapter president and member of the group’s nationwide “Elders Council.” Biggs, of Ormond Seaside, Florida, is a self-described Proud Boys organizer. Rehl was president of the Proud Boys chapter in Philadelphia. Donohoe, of Kernersville, North Carolina, additionally served as president of his native chapter, in response to the indictment.
Legal professionals for the 4 males declined to touch upon Tuesday’s ruling.
On the morning of Jan. 6, Proud Boys members met on the Washington Monument and marched to the Capitol earlier than President Donald Trump completed addressing 1000’s of supporters close to the White Home.
Simply earlier than Congress convened a joint session to certify the election outcomes, a bunch of Proud Boys adopted a crowd of people that breached limitations at a pedestrian entrance to the Capitol grounds, the indictment says. A number of Proud Boys additionally entered the Capitol constructing itself after the mob smashed home windows and compelled open doorways.
Greater than 700 folks have been charged with federal crimes associated to the Capitol riot. No less than 165 of them have pleaded responsible, principally to misdemeanor offenses punishable by a most of six months’ imprisonment.