The leader of far-right group Proud Boys and four associates were accused ofeditorial conspiracy related to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack that sought to prevent Congress from certifying the 2020 election results, the Justice Department said Monday.
A federal grand jury in Washington also charged them with conspiracy to prevent an officer from carrying out his duties.
It is the second group linked to the deadly US Capitol siege to face the rare and serious charge of conspiring to overthrow the government or obstruct the execution of US law. Eleven members of the Oath Keepers group, including leader Stewart Rhodes, were charged with seditious conspiracy earlier this year.
Proud Boy leader Enrique Tarrio was not on Capitol grounds during the insurgency, but prosecutors say he helped coordinate the violent effort to disrupt the election count that day. As the violence unfolded, Tarrio reportedly posted “Proud of my boys and my country” on social media.
Tarrio was previously arrested in March for his alleged role in planning the attack. In addition to Tarrio, Ethan Nordean, Joseph Biggs, Zachary Rehl and Dominic Pezzola have been charged.
All five men faced previous federal charges related to the insurgency. The latter two bring their total to nine, according to the Department of Justice. Pezzalo was also charged with robbery.
They were arrested and pleaded not guilty. The five are due to be heard on June 9, the same day the House Select Committee investigating the deadly riot will hold its first public hearing into what it has uncovered so far.
The new indictment, returned Monday by a federal grand jury in Washington, DC, does not appear to contain explosive new details about the riot or planning.
But in one passage, the court filing cites correspondence from a private messaging group for the Proud Boys on the evening of January 6.
“Dude, did we just influence history?” an anonymous person texted Tarrio at 7:39 p.m.
Tarrio replied, “Let’s see how it goes first.”
The Senate returned around 8 p.m. that evening to resume the certification process.