Prosecutors fill in details of Proud Boys assault on Capitol

Source: Politico | March 1, 2021 | Kyle Cheney and Josh Gerstein

Members are alleged to have dressed “incognito” on Jan. 6, then fanned out to prevent law enforcement from identifying them en masse.

The Proud Boys gathered at the Washington Monument at 10 a.m. on Jan. 6 dressed “incognito” to avoid detection, and then fanned out across the Capitol to prevent law enforcement from identifying them en masse, prosecutors alleged Monday in a legal filing that provides the most detail yet about the group’s actions on the day of the insurrection.

In one of the most detailed filings describing the violent nationalist group’s activities, prosecutors say the Proud Boys — bereft of their leader Enrique Tarrio, who had been arrested two days earlier — turned to new leaders, including Ethan Nordean, a Seattle-based Proud Boys leader, who helped orchestrate the group’s role in the assault.

In a filing seeking Nordean’s detention pending trial, prosecutors say he helped hatch a plan to provide Proud Boys with walkie-talkies — a Chinese brand called Baofeng — and communicated privately with individuals willing to fund and provide equipment for the Capitol siege.

But most notably, Nordean helped hatch the tactics the Proud Boys would use when they split up at the Capitol to avoid detection.

“Defendant — dressed all in black, wearing a tactical vest — led the Proud Boys through the use of encrypted communications and military-style equipment,” prosecutors allege, “and he led them with the specific plans to: split up into groups, attempt to break into the Capitol building from as many different points as possible, and prevent the Joint Session of Congress from Certifying the Electoral College results.”

Prosecutors say the Proud Boys never intended to hear then-President Donald Trump’s speech to supporters that day, when he urged them to march on the Capitol and “fight like hell” against Congress’ effort to certify the results of the 2020 election, a Trump defeat. Rather, Nordean led his allies “on a march around the Capitol” to position them at thinly guarded entrances.

The new details provide the most vivid account yet of the government’s effort to piece together the most sophisticated, coordinated efforts by militia groups to overtake the Capitol and the peaceful transfer of presidential power. Numerous members of the Proud Boys have already been charged for their role in the assault that day, including several indicted on Friday on conspiracy charges.

Nordean’s case, however, is even graver, prosecutors say: “Defendant’s position with the Proud Boys is that of giving instructions, not receiving them.”

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