By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
WASHINGTON (Worthy News) – The leader and three ‘lieutenants’ of the far-right Proud Boys militia have been found guilty of “a seditious conspiracy” against the U.S. government that culminated in a deadly attack on Capitol Building in Washington.
Henry “Enrique” Tarrio was convicted alongside subordinate group members Joseph Biggs, Ethan Nordean, and Zachary Rehl over the January 6, 2021, violence.
The three lieutenants were also found guilty of conspiring to disrupt the certification of the 2020 election and prevent Joe Biden from becoming president of the United States.
However, the Washington, D.C., federal jury could not return a verdict on the sedition charges against a fifth member, Dominic Pezzola, who was also accused of using a police officer’s riot shield to break a Capitol window.
Judge Timothy Kelly told jurors they could “return partial verdicts and sent them back into deliberations” for the charges against Pezzola, along with other undecided verdicts for the others.
Those convicted face potentially decades in prison. However, the Proud Boys leaders were acquitted of charges that they assaulted, impeded, or resisted officers.
The verdicts were seen as a blow against the Proud Boys and another milestone in the Justice Department’s prosecution of rioters claiming to be supporters of then-President Donald J. Trump.
Prosecutor Conor Mulroe had earlier told jurors that “these defendants saw themselves as Donald Trump’s army, fighting to keep their preferred leader in power no matter what the law or the courts had to say about it.”
The trial unfolded over four months, with jury selection beginning in December and opening arguments starting in early January.
It was the third seditious conspiracy case to go before jurors since the Capitol attack: Six members of the far-right Oath Keepers group, including founder Stewart Rhodes, were convicted on that charge across two trials in November and January.
Jeremy Bertino, a high-level member of the Proud Boys who pleaded guilty to “seditious conspiracy” in October, testified for the prosecution in this latest trial as part of a plea deal. He told jurors that Proud Boys believed they “had to do anything that was necessary to save the country.”
Prosecutors claimed the Proud Boys were “thirsting for violence” and had organized in advance to stop certification of U.S. President Biden’s “win by any means necessary, including by force.”
Defense attorneys countered that the Justice Department was using the group as a scapegoat for the real person to blame for January 6: Donald J. Trump.
However, Trump has denied responsibility for the attack on the Capitol Building hosting the U.S. Congress and long seen as “the people’s house,” a temple of democracy.
After the building storm on January 6, the Capitol became a military encampment, and a security fence went up around the building.
The sacred symbol of American democracy became a fortress, critics said.
Trump has said he does not condone violence but understands frustration among supporters over what he views as rigged elections.
Authorities have vehemently denied fraud during the presidential elections.
Last month Fox News Channel avoided one of the highest-profile defamation trials in history by reaching a $787.5-million settlement with Dominion Voting Systems.
The company had accused the conservative channel of smearing its reputation in the weeks after the 2020 election by suggesting Dominion had been used for rigging the presidential vote.
A jury would have determined whether Fox News acted with malice by allegedly deliberately airing false statements about the voting machine maker. Dominion was seeking $1.6 billion in damages.
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