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The trial is essentially the most vital to emerge from the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol. Although prosecutors had already gained a conviction in a separate seditious conspiracy trial in opposition to Stewart Rhodes, the chief of the far-right Oath Keepers, the Proud Boys have lengthy been seen as extra central to the Capitol assault.

Prosecutors have theorized that the Proud Boys developed a plan to violently cease the switch of energy at any price, and used ways that they had honed through the years to affect the pro-Trump crowd — “normies,” because the Proud Boys described them — to overhaul police at essential factors across the Capitol. Additionally they helped take away among the obstacles that allowed the mob to advance nearer to the constructing.

Members of the group marched on the Capitol properly earlier than Trump completed addressing a rally that morning and have been current at almost each vital breach of police traces. Dominic Pezzola, a Proud Boy from New York who’s on trial alongside Tarrio, was the primary to breach the constructing, when he smashed two Capitol home windows with a stolen police riot defend.

Their presence at these breach factors was no accident, McCullough contended. The group, beneath Tarrio’s management, had fashioned a brand new “combating power” — dubbed the “Ministry of Self Protection.” That group took further inspiration from Trump’s Dec. 19, 2020, tweet urging supporters to descend on Washington for a “wild” protest in opposition to the election outcomes. Proud Boys, prosecutors mentioned, took that tweet as a name to motion.

“These males didn’t stand again. They didn’t stand by. They mobilized,” McCullough mentioned.

Throughout pretrial arguments, protection attorneys contended that prosecutors have overstated the group’s function within the Capitol assault and criminalized their political help for Trump. Whereas members of the group have been current on the Capitol, they argued, it wasn’t a part of a broader conspiracy to forestall the incoming Biden administration from assuming energy.

Tarrio’s lawyer, Sabino Jauregui, laid the blame for the violence on the Capitol squarely at Trump’s toes, calling his consumer a “scapegoat.”

“President Trump informed these individuals the election was stolen,” Jauregui mentioned. “Trump informed them to go there on January sixth. And it was Trump in his speech on January sixth that unleashed this mob over there to the Capitol. However he’s not on trial right here at this time.”

Trump can be a looming presence within the background of the trial. The Home Jan. 6 choose committee’s report underscored his affect on the group, whereas among the former president’s closest allies — like longtime confidant Roger Stone — maintained relationships with Tarrio and different key leaders. The panel’s report confirmed that Tarrio’s co-defendants Ethan Nordean and Joe Biggs maintained contact with pro-Trump figures like Alex Jones and his InfoWars affiliate Owen Shroyer within the days main as much as Jan. 6.

Prosecutors portrayed Tarrio because the mastermind of the group, masterful at shielding his males from scrutiny whereas quietly turning them from a infamous “ingesting membership” that clashed on the streets with antifa right into a extra organized and militarized group.

“Enrique Tarrio believed {that a} Biden presidency was a menace to the Proud Boys’ existence,” McCullough mentioned.

Alongside Tarrio and Pezzola in courtroom have been Nordean, of Seattle; Biggs, a Floridian; and Zachary Rehl, of Pennsylvania — three of the Proud Boys prosecutors say led the assault.

Nordean led the group on the bottom, prosecutors say, whereas Tarrio — who wasn’t in Washington due to a courtroom order to remain out of town — stored in contact from a Baltimore lodge.

“President Trump was nonetheless talking at 12:45 when Ethan Nordean mustered the boys,” McCullough mentioned, noting that Nordean appeared to have a particular plan in place.

Prosecutors additionally launched jurors to North Carolina’s Jeremy Bertino, who has pleaded responsible to seditious conspiracy and is predicted to be a vital witness within the trial. Bertino beforehand testified to the Jan. 6 choose committee. They usually referenced Charles Donohoe, additionally of North Carolina, who was charged alongside the 5 males till he pleaded responsible to conspiracy to hinder Congress’ Jan. 6 session. Each males, McCullough mentioned, performed key roles instigating the mob assault on the Capitol and directing actions at key breach factors.

Prosecutors famous that inside minutes of the assault, Tarrio texted allies taking credit score for the assault, prosecutors famous. “Make no mistake…,” Tarrio wrote, “we did this.”

Others despatched related celebratory remarks. “I’m proud as fuck at what we achieved yesterday,” Rehl texted associates.

Attorneys for different Proud Boys contended that prosecutors overstated their case and that there was no grand plan inside the group to storm the Capitol. Cooperating witnesses informed prosecutors there was no predetermined plan to assault or breach the Capitol constructing.

“Over and again and again and over the federal government has been informed by witnesses, there was no plan for January sixth,” mentioned Nicholas Smith, Nordean’s lawyer.

He highlighted statements from the federal government’s cooperating witnesses underscoring the purpose.

“We didn’t ever pre-plan any assault or breach of the Capitol constructing,” John Stewart, a Proud Boy often called Blackbeard, informed prosecutors.

Smith agreed with prosecutors that Jan. 6 was “a shame, a humiliation to the nation, a historic embarrassment.” However he mentioned the proof the federal government would present to underscore that time would fire up feelings and anger that ought to not issue into the jury’s decision-making.

He urged them to “put aside feelings, anger, politics and make one thing like a scientific analysis.”

Pezzola’s lawyer, Roger Roots, sought to forged your entire assault on the Capitol as little greater than a “six-hour delay” of Congress. He argued that Pezzola smashed the window solely after one other rioter had already broken it with a wood pole and {that a} video of Pezzola celebrating contained in the Capitol with a cigar must be dubbed “the not-guilty video” for causes that have been unclear.

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