New Telegram audio transcripts show how Proud Boys panicked when members started getting arrested after the Capitol riot

Ethan Nordean Zachary Rehl
Proud Boys members Ethan Nordean and Zachary Rehl walking toward the US Capitol.

  • Telegram conversations obtained by the FBI show how the Proud Boys squabbled after the Capitol riot.
  • Audio transcripts were released in Seattle chapter leader Ethan Nordean’s court filing.
  • They show members worried about arrests and others angry that some even went to DC.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Proud Boys members squabbled in private conversations after the Capitol riot, according to newly-released audio transcripts in a group leader’s court case.

Ethan Nordean, a 30-year-old described as the “Sergeant of Arms” of the Proud Boys’ Seattle chapter, was arrested in February and charged with obstructing or impeding an official proceeding, aiding and abetting, and knowingly entering a restricted building, according to the Associated Press.

The most serious charge against Nordean, who also goes by the alias “Rufio Panman,” carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

‘We are f—ed’

Court documents released on Tuesday detailed audio files investigators had recovered from Nordean’s cell phone, that were exchanged on Telegram, an encrypted-messaging service that has become popular with far-right groups.

In the conversation, individuals who appeared to be fellow Proud Boys members expressed worry about the ongoing investigation and arrests of people involved in the Capitol riot, while others chastised the members who took part in the riot.

Ethan Nordean
Ethan Nordean at the Capitol riot.

“We are f—ed … they are coming for us,” one person said in one of the audio files.

There was also a discussion speculating about how solid of a case federal prosecutors were building. One individual commented that “feds don’t charge until they have a lot of evidence,” and if they “have enough evidence they are not going to offer much of a plea” deal.

“They’re going to throw the f—ing book at us,” one individual said in one of the audio files.

There appeared to be a lot of intergroup conflict in the audio transcripts as well, with some individuals unhappy that members even went to Washington, DC, in the first place.

According to the transcript, one individual said that he was confused about what happened in Washington because he thought they had voted not to go.

One individual said the “Warboys” went to DC and it “completely f—ing crashed and burns on us … good job with the comms, good job with the security, good job with legal … I mean f—ing ‘Tifa looks like professionals compared to us,” in an apparent reference to the antifa movement.

Another audio file included a comment about Nordean getting “lost in the sauce” and that the Proud Boys’ top leader, Enrique Tarrio, should step down. Another individual said that members under indictment should leave leadership positions.

Ethan Nordean
Another photo of Ethan Nordean at the Capitol riot.

The Proud Boys appeared to splinter after the Capitol riot, particularly after Tarrio was found to be an FBI informant for many years.

The Daily Beast reported in February that regional branches of the Proud Boys had been distancing themselves from central leadership since that revelation.

Tarrio was arrested before the Capitol riot for an unrelated charge of burning a Black Lives Matter flag at a Black church. Before the Capitol riot, Nordean was known for fighting left-wing demonstrators in Portland, Oregon, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Nordean said he no longer supported Trump

Nordean himself chimed into the conversation at points to defend his actions. He said he led others so they didn’t go astray, according to the transcript.

“I understand where we’re at in the frat. I understand that we’ve taken some risks that we shouldn’t have taken. We’ve done some things we shouldn’t have done. Ok but they’ve been done and we need to learn from ’em,” Nordean said, according to the transcript.

Nordean also said, according to the transcript, that he was no longer a Trump supporter and expressed regret for going to his rallies. He said he thought he was fighting for some secret plan that didn’t come to fruition, and didn’t disagree that things went bad.

Nordean is currently in jail awaiting trial. He was initially released on pretrial confinement, but US District Judge Timothy Kelly reversed that decision in April, saying he was dangerous and no conditions for his release would be adequate, according to the AP.

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A judge banned Proud Boys chairman Enrique Tarrio from DC ahead of this week’s pro-Trump rally. Tarrio is charged with burning a Black Lives Matter flag.

Enrique Tarrio
Enrique Tarrio, leader of the Proud Boys, stands outside Harry’s bar during a protest on December 12, 2020 in Washington, DC.

  • Proud Boys Chairman Enrique Tarrio was banned from DC ahead of this week’s “wild” pro-Trump rally.
  • A superior court judge included a stay away order as a condition of release for Tarrio’s recent arrest on charges that he burned a Black Lives Matter flag.
  • The judge said it was the least-restrictive measure, as Tarrio had posted on Parler that he would burn another Black Lives Matter flag. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The Proud Boys chairman has been banned from Washington, DC, ahead of this week’s pro-Trump rally. 

Henry “Enrique” Tarrio was arrested Monday night on a destruction of property warrant stemming from a mid-December protest that involved the burning of a Black Lives Matter banner belonging to a historically Black church in the nation’s capital

When Tarrio was taken into custody, police found two high-powered magazines branded with the Proud Boys logo in his bag, according to DC Superior Court documents viewed by Insider.

The devices were unloaded, and Tarrio told law enforcement he intended to sell them to someone he was meeting in DC at the rally.

Proud Boys branded magazines
Tarrio was carrying to high-capacity magazines at the time of his arrest, police say.

Tarrio pleaded not guilty to destruction of property and possession of a high-capacity ammunition feeding device charges Tuesday afternoon from his holding cell at the metro police station. 

Magistrate Judge Renee Raymond ordered Tarrio, who was held overnight, to be released on the condition that he stay out of the District of Columbia. 

Raymond said she was imposing the condition because Tarrio recently posted a meme on the encrypted chat platform Parler indicating he would burn another Black Lives Matter flag. 

The Proud Boys leader also posted about burning the church’s banner on social media.

The flag burning took place during the Dec. 12 Trump rally, for which Tarrio previously told Insider he was overseeing security. 

Tarrio, who is Cuban-American, has maintained to Insider that Proud Boys – a recognized hate group linked to street fights and violence around the US – is not racist or white supremacists by nature, while recognizing that some members hold those beliefs. 

“Given there are a lot of Black Lives Matter placards, banners, and alike in the District of Columbia, this will be the least restrictive condition” of release, Judge Raymond said. 

At the time of his arrest, Tarrio was arriving ahead of a pro-Trump rally planned to take place in the city this week. The demonstration is intended to coincide with Congress formalizing the presidential election results on Wednesday. 

Donald Trump, who continues to fuel conspiracy theories that President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral victory was fraudulent, recently tweeted that the rally would be “wild.”

The National Guard has been activated to handle crowd control this week. 

Tarrio is scheduled to return to court on June 8. 

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