- by cnn
- 01 Oct 2023
Four members of the Proud Boys extremist group, including its former leader Enrique Tarrio, were on Thursday convicted of seditious conspiracy for their roles in planning and leading the January 6 Capitol attack, in a desperate effort to keep Donald Trump in power after his 2020 election defeat.
The verdicts handed down in federal court in Washington marked a major victory for the US justice department in the last of its seditious conspiracy cases related to the January 6 attack. Prosecutors previously secured convictions against members of the Oath Keepers, another far-right group.
Seditious conspiracy is rarely used but became the central charge against the Proud Boys defendants after the FBI identified them as playing crucial roles in helping storm the Capitol in an effort to interrupt and stop the congressional certification of electoral results.
Those convicted now await sentencing. The verdicts were partial, and hours after the initial four were found guilty of seditious conspiracy, the jury found another Proud Boys member Dominic Pezzola, who smashed a window to gain entry to the Capitol, not guilty of seditious conspiracy.
Tarrio, who was not in Washington for the Capitol attack, as well as Ethan Nordean, Joseph Biggs and Zachary Rehl were also convicted of conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding. All five were convicted of obstructing an official proceeding.
The trial, which lasted more than three months and tested the scope of the sedition law, was particularly fraught for the defense, the prosecution and the presiding US district court judge, Timothy Kelly. Clashes in court and motions for mistrial were frequent.
More than a thousand arrests have been made in connection to the Capitol attack and hundreds of convictions secured. Trump was impeached a second time for inciting an insurrection but acquitted by Senate Republicans. He still faces state and federal investigations of his attempted election subversion.
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