A federal court in Washington DC found four members of the Proud Boys guilty of seditious conspiracy for their roles in the January 6th Capitol attack. Among the convicted was Enrique Tarrio, the group’s former leader. Although the jury convicted Dominic Pezzola of other felonies, they failed to reach a decision on the sedition charge against him.
The verdicts come after a seven-day deliberation and serve as a major blow to the far-right group. The trial was the last of three major sedition cases brought against key figures involved in the Capitol attack by federal prosecutors.
The sedition charge, which is rarely used, was also used in two separate trials against nine members of another far-right group, the Oath Keepers militia. Six of those defendants, including the organization’s founder and leader, were convicted of sedition.
The convicted members of the Proud Boys, including Ethan Nordean, Joseph Biggs, Zachary Rehl, and Enrique Tarrio, now await sentencing. The Proud Boys were the focus of the FBI’s investigation into the Capitol attack, and more than 20 other members of the group from chapters ranging from New York to Hawaii were charged in separate cases.
During the trial, a trove of internal group chats and recordings exposed the toxic culture of the Proud Boys, including their use of machismo, homophobia, and misogyny. The jury heard members of the group engage in casual antisemitism and promote outright Nazi sympathy.
In closing arguments, the prosecution placed former President Donald Trump at the heart of the Proud Boys’ story. They argued that the defendants refused to accept Joe Biden’s victory and, acting as “Donald Trump’s army,” organized and fought “to keep their preferred leader in power no matter what the law or the courts had to say about it.”
Trump had called for a “wild” protest to be held in Washington on Jan. 6, which Tarrio and his lieutenants interpreted as a call to action. They organized a group to be on the ground in Washington that day, which prosecutors called “a violent gang that came together to use force against its enemies.”