Proud Boys sedition trial opens 2 years after Jan. 6 riot

Proud Boys leader Henry 'Enrique' Tarrio during a rally in Portland, Oregon, September 26, 2020. (Allison Dinner/AP)
Proud Boys leader Henry 'Enrique' Tarrio during a rally in Portland, Oregon, September 26, 2020. (Allison Dinner/AP)

A high-profile US Capitol riot trial opens for former Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio and four lieutenants charged with seditious conspiracy for what prosecutors say was a desperate plot by far-right extremists to keep Joe Biden out of the White House.

Jurors begin hearing attorneys’ opening statements more than two years after Proud Boys members joined a pro-Donald Trump mob in attacking the Capitol on January 6, 2021.

The trial comes on the heels of the seditious conspiracy convictions of two leaders of the Oath Keepers, another far-right extremist group. Several other Oath Keepers members were charged with plotting to stop the peaceful transfer of presidential power from Trump, a Republican, to Biden, a Democrat.

The case against Tarrio and his four associates is one of the most consequential to emerge from the January 6 riot at the Capitol. The trial will provide an in-depth look at a group that has become an influential force in mainstream Republican politics.

Defense lawyers have said there was never any plan to go into the Capitol or stop Congress’ certification of the electoral vote won by Biden. And they have accused prosecutors of trying to silence potential defense witnesses. Tarrio’s lawyers have not said whether he will take the stand in his defense.

Tarrio’s co-defendants are Ethan Nordean, of Auburn, Washington, who was a Proud Boys chapter president; Joseph Biggs, of Ormond Beach, Florida, a self-described Proud Boys organizer; Zachary Rehl, who was president of the Proud Boys chapter in Philadelphia; and Dominic Pezzola, a Proud Boy member from Rochester, New York.

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