A Washington, D.C. jury found four Proud Boy defendants guilty of seditious conspiracy on Thursday for their roles in the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol storming.
Proud Boys former chairman Enrique Tarrio, as well as group members Ethan Nordean, Joseph Biggs, Zachary Rehl, were found guilty of the rare charge and conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding.
The jury remains undecided on a fifth group member, Dominic Pezzola, who was charged with the same crimes.
During the trial, prosecutors highlighted public and private messages from Tarrio, including one post urging the Proud Boys to stay at the Capitol.
“Make no mistake,” he wrote. “We did this.”
After the storming, Tarrio wrote, “God didn’t put me there for a reason. We would still be there.”
The defense, on the other hand, reiterated the government’s own findings that there was no plan for what occurred at the Capitol on Jan. 6. The Federal Bureau of Investigation determined that the January 6 storming was not organized by pro-Donald Trump groups as part of a plot to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election.
“Over and over and over and over the government has been told by witnesses there was no plan for January 6,” said Nicholas Smith, attorney for Ethan Nordean.
Hundreds of alleged participants have been arrested since the demonstration, but the FBI believes they are almost all “one-off cases” and not due to a centrally coordinated “far-right” effort, nor are they the result of an organized push by then-President Trump supporters.
“Ninety to ninety-five percent of these are one-off cases,” said a former senior law enforcement official familiar with the investigation, according to Reuters. “Then you have five percent, maybe, of these militia groups that were more closely organized. But there was no grand scheme with Roger Stone and Alex Jones and all of these people to storm the Capitol and take hostages.”
The sources said investigators did find cells of protesters linked to groups like the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys whose goal was to break into the Capitol, but there is no evidence that either group has additional plans about what to do once they made it inside.