The Washington Post
Video: Proud Boys leader spoke of Jan. 6 ‘link up’ with Jones
In clip played to jurors, Seattle head describes plan for Capitol meeting
Even before President Donald Trump told supporters to march to the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, a leader of the Proud Boys said the group planned to meet up with demonstrators led there by Infowars founder Alex Jones, according to evidence played at the far-right group’s seditious conspiracy trial Tuesday.
In video played to a federal jury in D.C., Seattle-area Proud Boys head Ethan Nordean told other group leaders that morning that they would shortly “link up with Alex Jones.” He repeated at noon that the rendezvous would occur at the West front of the building where “we’ll ... meet with Alex as he comes and we’ll do our s---.”
While it was known that the Proud Boys led a group of as many as 200 people to the Capitol before Trump began his speech at noon during a White House Ellipse rally, it was not previously reported that their plans specifically involved Jones.
In the video clip played to jurors, Nordean says nothing of Jones knowing about possible violence. Jones has said he was invited by the White House days earlier to “lead the march” to the Capitol after helping raise significant funds for it and amplifying Trump’s baseless claims that the 2020 election was illegitimate.
On Jan. 6, Jones said he followed the crowd and expressed alarm at the chaos at the Capitol when he arrived. “Let’s not fight the police and give the system what they want,” Jones said on camera, making what appeared to be an effort to divert a crowd away from the buildings embattled West front.
Jones attorney Marc Randazza said in an email, “You’ve got the video of Alex’s involvement, which looked to any reasonable person as him trying to divert the crowd and lower the temperature,” adding that a claim by Nordean did not mean there was a mutual plan.
“That’s one guy presumably bragging about a connection he didn’t have,” he said.
Trump called on listeners to go to the Capitol at 12:17 p.m., FBI Special Agent Nicole Miller testified. Nordean and three other defendants are accused of joining the first wave of a crowd that surged onto the Capitol grounds at 1 p.m. and mobilizing other members at the forefront of attacks on police at several key points. One in the group, Dominic Pezzola, smashed the first window breached with a stolen police riot shield, prosecutors allege.
They are on trial along with former Proud Boys chairman Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, who prosecutors say monitored events from Baltimore. All have pleaded not guilty to conspiring to oppose federal authority by force.
As Miller testified, prosecutors showed jurors photos and videos from Jan. 6, including those recorded by two of the defendants themselves. The footage gave the panel a Proud Boys-eye view of the riot, focusing in part on the actions of 17 associates who prosecutors allege acted as “tools” of the conspiracy.
“Storm the Capitol!” defendant Zachary Rehl can be heard shouting on his recording as the first group — including co-defendants Joe Biggs, Nordean and Pezzola, and other Proud Boys members — pushed through police onto Capitol grounds at the Peace Monument.
Defense attorneys for the men say they are scapegoats for an unplanned riot incited by Trump and police inaction. They accuse prosecutors of cherry-picking statements from tens of thousands of Proud Boys texts to manufacture a conspiracy, and unfairly using guilt-byassociation to link their clients to violent acts by others.
“Arguably each and every person in that crowd . . . was ‘activated’ by someone,” including potentially Trump himself, Biggs attorney Norman Pattis argued outside the jury’s presence. “To say these people were activated by these men rather than others goes too far.”
In its final report, the House select committee that investigated the Jan. 6 attack noted that while some of those who rioted at the Capitol did not plan to do so beforehand, “it is also true that extremists, conspiracy theorists and others were prepared to fight. That is an insurrection.”
The committee reported that Tarrio texted with Jones three times and an Infowars lieutenant, Owen Shroyer, five times during the riot.
Nordean, the committee said, exchanged 23 texts with Shroyer on Jan. 4 and 5, and had one call with him each day.
And co-defendant Joe Biggs texted Shroyer eight times on Jan. 4 and called him about 11:15 a.m. on Jan. 6, while Proud Boys were marching between the Capitol and Ellipse, the House committee reported.
Shroyer has pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor trespassing and disorderly conduct counts in the Jan. 6 breach. He shares a defense attorney with Biggs, a former Infowars employee.