The jury has spoken: four of the far-right Proud Boys have been found guilty of seditious conspiracy for their role in the January 6 Capitol attack.
Enrique Tarrio, the longtime Proud Boys chairman, Ethan Nordean, Joseph Biggs, and Zachary Rehl have all been found guilty of trying to forcibly prevent the peaceful transition of power from former President Donald Trump to President Joe Biden.
The jury was unable to reach a verdict in the case of the fifth defendant, Dominic Pezzola, and the judge has instructed the jury to continue deliberations.
The convictions are the third in the Justice Department's historic prosecution of those who breached the US Capitol on January 6.
Prosecutors alleged that before the attack, Tarrio was preparing for a "revolution," and reviewed documents that set forth a plan to occupy House and Senate office buildings around the Capitol. Tarrio was arrested on January 4 for bringing high-capacity rifle magazines to DC and ordered to leave the city.
The prosecution argued that the Proud Boys, motivated by Trump and his election lies, began calling for violence and revolution against the incoming Biden presidency. Messages and videos presented in court showed messages about the need for "war," "revolution," and firing squads for traitors.
On January 6, many of the defendants didn't attend Trump's speech, but instead began a march to the Capitol. Proud Boys were at the front lines of the mob on Capitol grounds and were there when the first barriers were breached. Prosecutors alleged that leaders of the group riled members up and communicated with them, through hand signals, to move ahead.
Pezzola used a police riot shield he stole during the attack to break open a window, prosecutors said, which rioters entered the Capitol through.
Defense attorneys argued that their clients never had a plan to storm the Capitol and stop the electoral college vote that day. The messages and videos show nothing more than stupid, vulgar rhetoric, defense attorneys said, hardly a seditious plot against the US government.
The trial lasted four months, with multiple delays brought on by newly unveiled evidence, a juror who believed they were being followed, and internecine squabbles among attorneys. During the trial, jurors listened to testimony from officers who defended the Capitol on January 6, FBI agents who investigated the Proud Boys and testimony from several Proud Boys members.
The convictions of Tarrio, Nordean, Biggs, and Rehl are a stern warning to those who seek to disrupt the peaceful transition of power: seditious conspiracy will not be tolerated. The jury's decision sends a clear message that our democratic processes will be defended and that those who attempt to interfere with them will face the consequences.