Loveland Reporter-Herald

Prosecutor­s rest in sedition case against leaders

- By Michael Kunzelman

Federal prosecutor­s on Monday rested their seditious conspiracy case against former Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio and four lieutenant­s charged with plotting to stop the transfer of presidenti­al power from Donald Trump to Joe Biden after the 2020 election.

Jurors will hear testimony from defense witnesses before deliberati­ng in one of the most serious cases to come out of the Justice Department’s massive investigat­ion of the violent Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol insurrecti­on.

Defense attorneys have argued there is no evidence the Proud Boys plotted to attack the Capitol and stop Congress from certifying Biden’s electoral victory. Norm Pattis, an attorney for former Proud Boys leader Joseph Biggs, said the group Boys had no plan, “no understand­ing” and no “implicit conspiracy” for Jan. 6.

The jury in Washington’s federal court has heard more than 30 days of testimony over more than two months by more than 20 prosecutio­n witnesses, including two former Proud Boys members who are cooperatin­g with the government in hopes of lighter sentences.

Tarrio, a Miami resident who served as national chairman of the group, and the other Proud Boys could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted of seditious conspiracy.

The case comes on the heels of the seditious conspiracy conviction­s of Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes and a Florida leader of the antigovern­ment group. Four other Oath Keepers were convicted of seditious conspiracy in January. Rhodes and other Oath Keepers are scheduled to be sentenced in May.

Also on trial with Tarrio and Biggs are Ethan Nordean, Zachary Rehl and Dominic Pezzola.

Nordean, of Auburn, Washington, was a Proud Boys chapter leader. Biggs, of Ormond Beach, Florida, was a self-described Proud Boys organizer. Rehl was president of the Proud Boys chapter in Philadelph­ia. Pezzola was a Proud Boys member from Rochester, New York.

Most of the defendants aren’t accused of engaging in violence themselves. Tarrio wasn’t even at the Capitol on Jan. 6.

“It’s too hard to blame Trump,” Sabino Jauregui, one of Tarrio’s lawyers, said during the trial’s opening statements. “It’s easier to blame Enrique as the face of the Proud Boys.”

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