As federal authorities continue to build their cases against individuals involved in the Capitol riot, federal Judge Timothy Kelly has ordered two Proud Boys back to jail over their connections to that deadly January violence in D.C. The Proud Boys are a far-right gang that have been designated as a terrorist organization in Canada where the group’s founder Gavin McInnes has lived, and the Capitol riot defendants who were just sent back to jail, including Ethan Nordean and Joseph Biggs, have been indicted on conspiracy charges covering pre-riot planning in which they were involved.
Two Proud Boys leaders indicted for conspiracy in the Jan. 6 insurrection are going to jail.
Ethan Nordean and Joseph Biggs had been allowed to go home after they were arrested, but prosecutors argued the new indictment changed things. Story: https://t.co/UakWFrOsL0
— Zoe Tillman (@ZoeTillman) April 19, 2021
This order for the defendants to return to jail follows the revelation of those conspiracy charges, which emerged after previous lower level charges covering their participation in the Capitol violence. As summarized by courts reporter Zoe Tillman, Judge Kelly outlined how Nordean and Biggs had “extensive involvement” in planning efforts ahead of the Capitol rioting. As the judge put it, according to Tillman:
‘These defendants are alleged by their leadership and their planning to have facilitated political violence on January 6, even if they themselves did not carry a weapon or strike a blow.’
Kelly explained that he was unwilling to release Nordean and Biggs to home confinement, even under strict restrictions, because associates could bring smartphones to the premises for the defendants to use even if their home had been stripped of electronic devices. Smartphones could, of course, provide the opportunity for the Proud Boys members to orchestrate further violence.
As revealed by prosecutors, an un-indicted co-conspirator who was also involved in the planning informed members of an inner circle that Nordean was “in charge” the day before the violence. That same co-conspirator called law enforcement personnel the “primary threat.” Following this pre-riot coordination, Trump supporters at the Capitol the next day violently assaulted scores of officers, leaving some 140 with injuries, including very serious cases like “cracked ribs” and “smashed spinal discs,” according to Capitol Police officers’ union chief Gus Papathanasiou.
Nordean and Biggs aren’t the only individuals connected to the rioting who are facing conspiracy charges, which carry steep sentences. Kenneth Harrelson, an individual associated with a militia group known as the Oath Keepers, is also among those facing conspiracy charges, and he was recently ordered to be held in jail ahead of his trial. Prosecutors have outlined how Harrelson appears to have been involved in storing weapons at a Comfort Inn near D.C. in Arlington, Virginia, that were meant for the usage of the Capitol rioters if requested by those on the scene. Harrelson was also “actively” looking for members of Congress while at the Capitol, according to prosecutors, underscoring his apparent violent intent.
Prosecutors have alleged Oath Keepers planned to have a "quick reaction force" with a stash of weapons on Jan. 6. They shared new evidence today, saying hotel surveillance video showed members with what appeared to be rifle cases and a rifle under a sheet https://t.co/5LDBfNxTLN
— Zoe Tillman (@ZoeTillman) April 14, 2021
The rioters at the Capitol proceeded under the explicit pretense of ex-President Trump’s lies about the integrity of last year’s presidential election, and following the violence, neither Trump nor many of his top defenders have abandoned their lies. Instead, Trump has kept spreading the nonsense, including at this year’s edition of the Conservative Political Action Conference — a mainstream Republican event.