Early January 6, some of the Proud Boys showed up as part of Roger Stone’s protection entourage. Stone is one of Donald Trump’s strange buddies. Members of their group, Proud Boys, stormed our Capitol Building on that same day. And four were arrested not long after, charged with conspiracy, destruction of government property, entering restricted grounds, and obstructing an official. In addition, they were allegedly part of the planning and implementation of the failed coup.
What would U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly do?
Proud Boys Joseph Biggs, Charles Donohoe, Ethan Nordean, and Zachary Rehl had asked the court to dismiss the indictment against them, according to CNN. But both Nordean and Rehl had set up a crowdfunding campaign a year ago for “communications” and “[p]rotective gear,” according to their court documents. They also came to Washington, DC right before January 6 as did many of the Proud Boys.
Their attorneys argued that three charges should be dismissed, because they did not apply to these Proud Boys’ experience on January 6. These charges related to “obstructing an official proceeding, obstruction of law enforcement and entering restricted grounds.” Why? Because they would be “unconstitutional.”
Prosecutors said these four were in the mob and went beyond the police barricades. Then afterward, they allegedly celebrated their actions.
The president of a local Proud Boys chapter, Nordean wrote:
‘[I]f you feel bad for the police, you are part of the problem.’
‘[I am] proud as f— what we accomplished yesterday.’
More than once, Donohoe seemed to have written that the Proud Boys had “stormed the capitol unarmed.”
Then, the Proud Boys’ attorneys claimed that certifying President Joe Biden after the 2020 election was not an “official proceeding.”
The judge disagreed. He pointed right at the nation’s legal code, which clearly defined an official proceeding as one “before the Congress.” And he wrote in his decision that the attorneys’ First Amendment argument was “blatantly incorrect.” In fact, the judge did not agree with nearly all of their legal interpretations.
The judge did acknowledge that certainly not all of the Capitol qualifies as part of an official proceeding, but:
‘Congress’s certification makes the grade.’
Judge Kelly also wrote that the attorneys’ argument about law enforcement obstruction was “vague” before he refused to dismiss the charges:
‘[It] does not carry the potential for misunderstanding or arbitrary enforcement.’
Judge Kelly ruled, Reuters reported.
‘Tuesday [he] allowed a criminal case relating to the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol attack to move forward, declining to dismiss charges against four members of the far-right Proud Boys group.’
CNN indicated that the obstruction charge carried a 20-year maximum prison term:
‘The felony obstruction charge, which carries a maximum 20-year prison term, has been the cornerstone of many of the Justice Department’s most serious cases related to the January 6 attack on Congress. Nearly every defendant charged with it is challenging its legality in court.’
If the Proud Boys retain these attorneys and have no other arguments, they may well be facing prison.
Three White Lions podcast, Gloria Christie reads a chapter from her book of the same title. She also writes for the liberal online newspaper The Bipartisan Report. Gloria Christie Report her newsletter for people on the go. Written in her own unique style with a twist of humor in a briefer version of Bipartisan Report. Christie’s Mueller Report Adventures In Bite-Sizes a real-life compelling spy mystery (in process). Find her here on Facebook.