WASHINGTON, D.C. (WGHP) – A federal grand jury has indicted five members of the Proud Boys on charges of “seditious conspiracy” and nine other charges for their alleged roles in the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
Enrique Tarrio, known to be the national chair of the Proud Boys, a right-wing militia group, has been charged with four other men for allegedly having helped organize the attack, largely by supporters of former President Donald Trump who were trying to disrupt the formal certification in the U.S. House and Senate of Joe Biden’s election as president.
This was the third superseding indictment against the group, which includes Ethan Nordean, 31, of Auburn, Washington; Joseph Biggs, 38, of Ormond Beach, Florida; Zachary Rehl 36, of Philadelphia; and Dominic Pezzola, 44, of Rochester, New York.
The indictment also discusses– but does not name as a defendant – Charles Donohoe, 34, of Kernersville, who was president of the state chapter of Proud Boys.
Donohoe in early April pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding and one count of assaulting, resisting or impeding a law enforcement officer. The conspiracy charge carries a maximum possible sentence of 20 years in prison. U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly told Donohoe during a hearing that federal sentencing guideline calculations would recommend a sentence in the range of 70 to 87 months in prison.
The charge of seditious conspiracy states that Tarrio, Nordean, Biggs, Rehl and Pezzola “did knowingly conspire, confederate, and agree with other persons known and unknown to the Grand Jury, to oppose by force the authority of the Government of the United States and by force to prevent, hinder, and delay the execution of any law of the United States.”
The five also are charged with conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding; obstruction of an official proceeding and aiding and abetting; conspiracy to prevent an officer from discharging any duties; civil disorder and aiding and abetting; two counts of destruction of government property and aiding and abetting; two counts of assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers; and Pezzola alone is charged with robbery of personal property of the United States.
There have been more than 850 charged – including some 21 from North Carolina and six from the Piedmont Triad – for their actions on Jan. 6, when members of Congress were chased into hiding after thousands broke through barricades, broke out windows and doors and stormed into the inner chambers and offices. There have been seven deaths attributed to that day, both during and after the insurrection.
Nearly 300 people have been sentenced or pleaded guilty. Many have been given and/or served prison sentences.
The indictment of these five describes in detail the planning and communications among this group and their hundreds of members to participate in the insurrection. Donohoe has been named for his role in helping to communicate with members.
This indictment details planning in December of 2020 for how the group would organize and assemble for their protests. Donohoe’s activities on Jan. 4, 2021, are detailed for how he helped form and develop an encrypted messaging system among a smaller group of leaders known as the MOSD Leader Group.
At 2:57 p.m. on Jan. 6, Tarrio is said in the indictment to have posted the messages “1776” and “revolutionaries are now at the Rayburn Building” on social media, which were references to a “1776 Returns” plan Tarrio received on Dec. 30, 2020. On the night of Jan. 6, Tarrio received messages of congratulations that said, “You know we made this happen.”
There were further communications about the hope that Congress would not reconvene and certify the election, which it did.