(Washington) Four members of the far-right group Proud Boys, involved in the assault on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, were convicted on Thursday of “sedition”, according to several US media, an extremely rare charge .
Their former leader, Enrique Tarrio, is among the four condemned.
They were five members of the group to be tried by a court in Washington for having, with a crowd of supporters of Republican President Donald Trump, sown chaos in the seat of Congress, when elected officials certified the election of his Democratic rival. Joe Biden at the White House.
The jury could not agree on the “sedition” charge for the fifth defendant, but all five were also found guilty of obstructing the work of Congress and destroying public property, among other things.
Since the January 6, 2021 attack, more than 950 supporters of former Republican President Donald Trump have been arrested and charged with causing havoc in the seat of American democracy.
After two other trials, concluded in November and January, six members of another far-right militia, the “Oath Keepers”, had already been convicted of sedition, a leader facing up to 20 years in prison which involves for planning the use of force to oppose the government.
Difficult to prove, it is very rarely used, and the previous conviction as such, before those of November and January, dates back almost a quarter of a century.
The trial of the five members of the Proud Boys opened in December in a court in the federal capital.
Former Proud Boys “National Chairman” Enrique Tarrio, arrested in Miami in March 2022, was not in Washington on January 6, but was suspected of leading the attack on America’s Temple of Democracy by members of this neofascist organization.
The founder of the far-right Oath Keepers militia, Stewart Rhodes, was among the members of this group to be convicted in November of “sedition”.
According to Enrique Tarrio’s indictment, Tarrio spoke with Stewart Rhodes on January 5 in an underground parking lot in Washington and stayed in contact with members of the Proud Boys who entered the Capitol.
Four of his followers were accused of having directly taken part in the assault.
In a video of the event, one of them, Dominic Pezzola, can be seen handling a riot shield – stolen from the police – and breaking a window of the Capitol. He was also convicted of theft of state property.
On a cold winter’s day on January 6, 2021, thousands of President Donald Trump supporters gathered in Washington to protest the 2020 election result that saw the ex-real estate mogul lose .
A crowd had stormed the seat of the US Congress, sending shock waves around the world.
At least five people died on the fringes of the attack, some of natural causes, and 140 police officers were injured.
Nearly two years after the incident, a parliamentary inquiry into the assault had recommended criminal charges be brought against former President Donald Trump, including for calling for insurrection and conspiracy against the American state.
Non-binding, the decision was nonetheless historic, since it targeted a former head of state. Donald Trump had immediately denounced a maneuver aimed, according to him, at hindering his new candidacy for the presidency.
But federal prosecutors securing sedition convictions in the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys trials risks raising the stakes for the former US president amid the specter of Special Counsel Jack Smith’s criminal investigation, which is looking into especially on the role of Donald Trump in the attempts to overturn the results of the presidential election of 2020.