The Capitol riot defendants are turning on each other and outing Proud Boys leadership

Capitol riot
Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as they push barricades to storm the US Capitol in Washington D.C on January 6, 2021.

The brotherhood of the Proud Boys is falling apart, as more than one of the Capitol riot defendants has turned on the group’s leadership.

According to a CNN report, prosecutors have struck deals with more than one Capitol riot defendant. In exchange for plea deals, cooperators may have to work with the Justice Department and prosecutors to build stronger cases and bring more serious charges against the pro-Trump far-right extremist group’s leaders.

This is not the first indication that there might be disloyalty within the Proud Boys’ ranks.

In March, Proud Boys leader Joseph Biggs – who reportedly was one of the first to clamber through a smashed window to get into the Capitol building – broke with the Proud Boys in a bid to escape being held in prison pending trial.

Lawyers for Biggs said in a court filing that he regularly spoke to the FBI and law enforcement agents to tell them about protests that he was involved in, and that these back-channels he had with the authorities should keep him out of jail.

Enrique Tarrio, another well-known Proud Boys leader, was also revealed in February to have been working behind the scenes as an FBI informant. He was outed when Reuters published part of a 2014 court transcript, that said he was working undercover and was helping law enforcement crack drug and human trafficking cases.

Other groups who banded together to storm the Capitol in January are also seeing instances where defendants refuse to hold the line, and are now considering trading information to escape indictment.

Insider reported this week that prosecutors were negotiating a plea deal with Jon Schaffer – a heavy metal guitarist who was spotted storming the Capitol wearing an Oath Keepers hat, indicating his connection with the paramilitary group.

According to a now-deleted confidential court filing that was erroneously uploaded but seen by BuzzFeed News and Politico, Schaffer was involved in “debrief interviews” with prosecutors.

“Based on these debrief interviews, the parties are currently engaged in good-faith plea negotiations, including discussions about the possibility of entering into a cooperation plea agreement aimed at resolving the matter short of indictment,” the filing said.

Criminal defense attorney Martin Tankleff told CNN that he thought it likely that more cooperators would come forward and turn against the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, and other groups involved in the riot.

“Whenever you have a large group of people arrested and in jail, prosecutors will typically observe the group and pressure defendants to flip on one another, Tankleff said. “They’re going to start talking. They’re going to start sharing information.”

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2 brothers were charged over the Capitol Riot. One yelled a Proud Boys slogan as he broke in, prosecutors say.

JONATHANPETER ALLEN KLEIN MATTHEW LELAND KLEIN
An image of Jonathanpeter Allen Klein and Matthew Leland Klein, which prosecutors say shows Jonathanpeter doing a Proud Boys hand signal the day before the Capitol riot.

  • Two brothers accused of being part of the Proud Boys have been charged over the Capitol riot.
  • The indictment said Jonathanpeter Klein celebrated with another Proud Boy after entering the Capitol.
  • He and his brother Leland were also accused of attending past Proud Boys events.
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Two brothers from Oregon have been charged over the Capitol riots, court documents show.

One of the brothers was accused of using a Proud Boys slogan after entering the building during the violence of January 6.

Matthew Leland Klein and Jonathanpeter Allen Klein were charged with six offenses, including destruction of government property, obstruction of law enforcement, conspiracy, and entering a restricted building.

The indictment said that Jonathanpeter “is a self-identified member of the Proud Boys.”

It said that he “engaged in a celebratory exchange with an identified member of the Proud Boys” after entering the Capitol building and, a few minutes later, turned to that member and said “proud of your f—–g boy!”

The statement refers to the Disney song “Proud of Your Boy” from which the group takes its name.

Court documents submitted to the United States District Court District of Oregon Portland Division also said that he did “a Proud Boys hand signal.”

Prosecutors said that a photo of Jonathanpeter the day before the riot also showed him doing a Proud Boys hand signal. The details match this photo:

JONATHANPETER ALLEN KLEIN MATTHEW LELAND KLEIN
An image of Jonathanpeter Allen Klein and Matthew Leland Klein, which prosecutors say shows Jonathanpeter doing a Proud Boys hand signal the day before the Capitol riot.

The Proud Boys is a right-wing, pro-Trump group that is classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Centre.

Experts say the group spreads white supremacist, misogynistic, anti-immigrant, and anti-Semitic ideologies, though the group has denied doing so.

The indictment said its “members routinely attend rallies, protests, and other events, some of which have resulted in violence involving members of the group.”

The indictment does not connect Matthew to the Proud Boys.

But further prosecuting documents claim “there is also evidence that the defendants have participated in one or more Proud Boys events during which they were prepared to engage in and/or did engage in violent conduct.”

They said that photos appear to show both of the brothers at a protest featuring Trump supporters and Proud Boys members on September 7, where there were clashes with Black Lives Matter protesters.

And Matthew is also facing a charge of possession of loaded firearms related to a September 26 Proud Boys rally in Portland.

The riot took place as a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol hours after Trump addressed them at the rally and encouraged attendees to “fight like hell.”

The crowd then stormed the building, forcing lawmakers to evacuate while voting to confirm President Joe Biden’s election victory. Five people, including a Capitol Police officer, died.

The indictment said the brothers were part of the crowd outside the Capitol and “eventually forced their way through, up, and over additional Capitol Police barricades” to get to the exterior of the building, and that they were able to enter after other rioters forced their way in.

Still images from video footage shared with the court claim to show Matthew wearing goggles outside the Capitol, with a portion of Jonathanpeter also visible.

Jonathanpeter Klein Matthew Klein
Video stills that prosecutors say show Matthew Leland Klein outside the Capitol.

The indictment said that, when they exited the building, they then “worked in coordination to forcibly open a secured door on the Capitol’s north side.”

It said that, when law enforcement tried to stop them, Matthew put on protective goggles and moved towards the officers, where he then “used a Gadsden flag affixed to a flagpole to interfere with efforts by law enforcement to disperse the crowd.”

Hundreds of people have been arrested since the riot, with others also accused of being part of the Proud Boys.

Court documents say that members spent weeks planning their actions at the Capitol, including telling members to dress “incognito” and split up to avoid detection.

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A Proud Boys member who allegedly pepper-sprayed police has been charged over his role in the Capitol riots

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Members of the far-right group Proud Boys make ‘OK’ hand gestures indicating “white power” as supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump gather in front of the U.S. Capitol Building to protest against the certification of the 2020 U.S. presidential election results by the U.S. Congress, in Washington, US, January 6, 2021.

  • Another member of the far-right group the Proud Boys has been arrested following the Capitol riots.
  • Charging documents say Christopher Worrell pepper-sprayed police officers during the insurrection.
  • Worrell’s lawyer said he plans to plead not guilty and was only in DC because of Trump.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

More than two months after the deadly Capitol insurrection, the arrests keep coming.

Last week, the Justice Department filed charges against Christopher Worrell, an alleged Proud Boy, over his role in the January 6 riots, according to court documents.

Worrell is accused of pepper-spraying Capitol police officers during the chaos of the siege, among additional charges, including engaging in violence and disorderly conduct on restricted grounds, knowingly entering restricted grounds, violent entry onto Capitol grounds, and obstructing Congressional proceedings.

Prosecutors say the 49-year-old traveled from his home of Naples, Florida to Washington, DC, to participate in the pro-Trump rally on January 6. In photographic evidence from that day gathered by officials, Worrell can be seen wearing a tactical vest and radio earpiece and armed with pepper-spray.

Charging documents said a tipster acquainted with Worrell’s live-in girlfriend contacted FBI officials in mid-January to identify Worrell in pictures from the riot. The tipster reportedly said Worrell’s girlfriend told their mutual acquaintance that he was a member of the far-right nationalist group the Proud Boys.

An agent then interviewed Worrell about his participation in the insurrection and inquired about possible planned violence for the upcoming January 20 presidential inauguration. According to the criminal complaint, Worrell was “extremely agitated and upset that the FBI was at his house.”

Worrell eventually acknowledged he had been in DC on January 6, but denied entering the building and any other wrongdoing, legal records said. When asked about his participation in the Proud Boys, he once again became “agitated.”

Worrell reportedly told the agent that the “Proud Boys were not a racist white supremacist group like the media tries to portray.”

Charging documents include photos of Worrell from January 6 pictured with other alleged Proud Boys and making the “OK” symbol, a hand motion associated with white nationalism. While the legal documents do not include any photos of Worrell inside the Capitol, one does depict him pointing his pepper spray at an out-of-frame target where officials say “law enforcement are positioned.”

The alleged Proud Boy was arrested Friday, March 13, according to Naples Daily News. A Florida judge released Worrell after his first court appearance, but the Justice Department immediately appealed the decision, and the chief judge of the federal court in Washington, DC, halted his release pending further review, CNN reported.

Worrell’s lawyer, Landon Miller, told the news outlet that his client plans to plead not guilty and denies using pepper spray against police. Worrell via Miller also joined the growing number of Capitol riot arrestees to blame former President Donald Trump for his participation in the insurrection.

“Mr. Worrell is overcharged without supporting evidence,” Miller told CNN. “Mr. Worrell adamantly asserts that at no time did he pepper spray toward any law enforcement personnel nor intended to spray any law enforcement personnel. He also asserts that he went to Washington, DC, and then the Capitol grounds at the direction of former President Trump.”

More than 315 people have been charged in the Capitol insurrection so far.

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A Proud Boys leader acquired a lookalike’s passport to possibly flee the country following Capitol attack, court documents say

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In this Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021 file photo Ethan Nordean, with backward baseball hat and bullhorn, leads members of the far-right group Proud Boys in marching before the riot at the U.S. Capitol.

One Capitol rioter may have been planning a duplicitous international getaway following the January 6 siege.

Ethan Nordean, a leader in the far-right, white supremacist organization the Proud Boys, obtained a valid US Passport issued to someone who looked like him and kept it near his bed with his wife’s passport, new court documents said. 

In a pre-trial detention filing made on Monday for Nordean, prosecutors detailed the months-long tactical preparations members of the Proud Boys made in advance of the assault on the Capitol Building at the beginning of this year.

Nordean helped plan and fundraise for the group’s role in the Capitol insurrection starting as far back as November 4, the court filing said.

After the Proud Boys’ leader, Enrique Tarrio, was arrested in DC days before the siege, the organization nominated Nordean to take “ultimate leadership” of the group’s activities on the day of the attack and granted him “war powers,” prosecutors said. 

The night before the attack, prosecutors say the Seattle-based leader instructed his fellow Proud Boys to wear dark clothes and avoid the colors typically associated with members of the extremist group.

On the day of the riots, Nordean, dressed in all black and wearing a tactical vest, instructed his fellow members to use encrypted communications and the military-style equipment they had acquired. He then issued specific orders: “Split up into groups, attempt to break into the Capitol building from as many different points as possible, and prevent the Joint Session of Congress from Certifying the Electoral College results,” prosecutors said.

The 30-year-old was arrested weeks later, on February 3, for his role in planning and participating in the deadly attacks. 

But Monday’s court filings reveal new details about Nordean’s pre-siege planning and his post-siege arrest.

Prosecutors allege that law enforcement agents discovered a valid US passport issued to a Nordean lookalike during the execution of a search warrant. Federal agents reportedly found the passport on a dresser on Nordean’s side of the bed in the master bedroom, along with Nordean’s wife’s passport. 

Officials did not find any passport for Nordean during their search.

Prosecutors described the “obvious explanation” for the dubious passport – that Nordean “entertained at least the possibility of traveling on the passport after he led a group of Proud Boys members in the Capitol riot, and after several of the Proud Boys members that followed his lead were arrested by the FBI…”

Instead, Nordean offered his own explanation for the document.

The Proud Boys leader told agents that the passport belonged to his wife’s ex-boyfriend, and that she had kept the document as a “keepsake” after the relationship ended. His wife then allegedly took the keepsake passport with her when she moved into a new home with her husband, Nordean, and she “just happened” to keep the passport with her own passport, “on top of a clothes dresser on [Nordean’s] side of the bed in the master bedroom.” 

Prosecutors argued in the court filing that the anecdote proves Nordean is a serious flight risk and “danger to the community,” and as such, should be detained before his trial.

“As noted previously, should [Nordean] obtain his release and acquire another such passport, it would be exceedingly difficult to catch him and ensure his presence for trial,” the filing said.

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Proud Boys deployed tactical measures in coordinated attack on the Capitol, court documents say

AP21039721090052
In this Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021 file photo Ethan Nordean, with backward baseball hat and bullhorn, leads members of the far-right group Proud Boys in marching before the riot at the U.S. Capitol.

  • Court documents detailed the weeks-long planning by Proud Boys members ahead of January 6.
  • Members of the far-right group were told to dress “incognito” and split up to avoid detection.
  • Prior to the siege, members discussed their hope to turn “normies” or non-Proud Boys loose on the Capitol. 
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

As Donald Trump was delivering his now infamous speech to supporters on the afternoon of January 6, members of the far-right white nationalist group, the Proud Boys, weren’t among the thousands of pro-Trump demonstrators listening in the crowd, according to new court documents.

The Proud Boys had already set off for the US Capitol building. They arrived at the east side of the building before noon – more than an hour before Trump finished a speech that would later spur accusations of incitement. 

While the majority of Trump supporters in DC that day were listening to the incendiary words of the departing president, the Proud Boys, wearing dark colors, positioned themselves strategically across the Capitol campus to avoid detection, prosecutors say.

They “were not present for any part of the speech, because hearing the speech was not in their plan,” legal documents said.

Members of the neo-fascist group spent months fundraising for and planning the group’s participation in the Capitol assault, according to a pre-trial detention filing made on Monday for one of the organization’s leaders, Ethan Nordean. 

The court documents detail how the group, lacking their leader Enrique Tarrio – who was arrested in DC days before the siege – empowered new members, including Nordean.

A local and national Proud Boys leader based in Seattle, Nordean was reportedly nominated by fellow members to have “war powers” and to take “ultimate leadership of the Proud Boys’ activities on January 6, 2021.”

As early as November 4, Nordean and fellow Proud Boys leaders took to social media in anger over the election, which they believed was stolen, and encouraged both Proud Boys and Proud Boys supporters to join the group in preventing the certification of the Electoral College results, the filing said.

“We tried playing nice and by the rules, now you will deal with the monster you created. The spirit of 1776 has resurfaced and has created groups like the Proudboys and we will not be extinguished. We will grow like the flame that fuels us and spread like love that guides us. We are unstoppable, unrelenting and now….unforgiving,” Nordean posted on November 27.

Nordean also used his social media following to encourage his supporters to donate money, tactical vests, and other military-style equipment that Proud Boys members could use for the January 6 attack. For weeks leading up to the siege, Nordean communicated with various individuals who said they could provide funding, protective gear, and even bear mace to the group.

On the morning of January 6, the Proud Boys gathered at the Washington Monument, carrying Baofeng radios – devices made by a Chinese communication equipment manufacturer that are known for being more difficult to monitor or overhear than regular walkie talkies. The night before, members had been instructed to wear plain clothes and to avoid the colors typically worn by Proud Boys.

Nordean, dressed in all black and wearing a tactical vest, instructed his fellow members on how to use encrypted communications and the military-style equipment they had acquired. He then issued specific orders: “split up into groups, attempt to break into the Capitol building from as many different points as possible, and prevent the Joint Session of Congress from Certifying the Electoral College results,” prosecutors said.

When they reached the Capitol building, the Proud Boys did just as they had been instructed. Spread across the campus en masse, members of the organization – along with a growing number of other pro-Trump protesters – forced their way through Capitol Police officers and metal barriers.

It was a Proud Boy – Dominic Pezzola – who broke open a window with a riot shield he had taken from an officer earlier that day. Pezzola has been kept in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day while he awaits his trial, Politico reported. He is one of the growing number of Capitol rioters arrested that day who have publicly blamed Trump for their participation in the siege.   

According to court documents, prior to the assault, certain Proud Boys had discussed their hope to turn the “normies,” or non-Proud Boys, loose on January 6, “to incite and inspire them to ‘burn that city to ash today,’ and ‘smash some pigs to dust.'”

In the filing, prosecutors argue that Nordean poses a serious flight risk and danger to the community. Allowing him pretrial release, they argue, would allow him to plan, fundraise for, equip, and lead a group in another attack, a danger that is “unfortunately, quite real.”

When officials executed a search warrant against Nordean, they discovered a valid US passport issued to someone who looked like Nordean, the filing said, but none for Nordean himself. Prosecutors said Nordean’s explanation for the document’s existence in his home was “absurd.”

Nordean told the agents that his wife had kept her ex-boyfriend’s passport as a keepsake and brought the document to the home she now shared with Nordean, where she “just happened” to store the keepsake with her own passport on Nordean’s side of the bed.

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A judge dismissed claims by a Capitol riot suspect that he shouldn’t be held responsible because Trump put him up to it

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Pro-Trump protesters look on during clashes with Capitol police at a rally to contest the certification of the 2020 U.S. presidential election results by the U.S. Congress, at the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, U.S, January 6, 2021.

  • Lawyers for a suspected Capitol rioter have argued that he was merely following Trump’s orders.
  • “The American head of state directed a specific action,” said lawyers for William Chrestman.
  • The judge rejected the logic, asking if that would excuse murder if Trump instructed it.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

A Kansas federal judge has brushed off a defense from a Proud Boys member suspected of participating in the Capitol riot that he was just doing what President Donald Trump instructed.

Prosecutors say William Chrestman, a member of the extremist group from Kansas, is accused of joining the deadly storming of the Capitol on January 6. He has been charged on numerous counts, including conspiracy to civil disorder, threatening to assault federal law enforcement, and entering a restricted area with a weapon.  

According to a court filing, Chrestman was caught on video several times during the event, and while outside the Capitol complex encouraged crowds to “take your house back” – an apparent reference to the Capitol. Prosecutors say footage also shows him shouting at police officers: “You shoot and I’ll take your f—ing ass out!” 

He appeared to be wielding an ax handle or club in the footage, the filing said. At one point, inside the Capitol, he used it in an attempt to prevent police from closing metal barriers to seal off parts of the building, prosecutors said. 

‘The American head of state directed a specific action’

Chrestman is one of several Proud Boys members who have been charged in connection with the riots, including the group’s leader Enrique Tarrio. Chrestman has been referred to in another court filing as the leader of the Kansas City Proud Boy cell, the Associated Press reported.

As Insider’s Sonam Sheth has noted, many insurrectionists have touted the idea that Trump put them up to it. And according to Politico, the argument is now regularly showing up in court.

In a filing aimed at securing Chrestman’s pretrial release last week, his lawyers Kirk Redmond and Chekasha Ramsey argued that on January 6, “Trump told the assembled rabble what they must do,” and that they merely followed his instructions. 

This, the lawyers argued, means that he has a strong potential defense and therefore is not a flight risk. 

“The American head of state directed a specific action,” they argued. “Those who obeyed him have a viable defense against criminal liability.”

The lawyers also argued that Chrestman does not present a danger to the public because the Proud Boys are now “enfeebled” since Tarrio’s arrest, and that Chrestman has got rid of his weapons. They said the arrest has given their client “clarity of perspective.”

Much of their argument also centered around Trump’s influence over the Proud Boys.

“Only someone who thought they had an official endorsement would even attempt such a thing,” the lawyers said. “And a Proud Boy who had been paying attention would very much believe he did.”

They noted the infamous Trump instruction, made during last September’s presidential debate, for the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by,” and cited a New York Times opinion piece arguing this suggested “the implicit approval of the state.”

Donald Trump debate
President Donald Trump speaks during the first presidential debate with Joe Biden on September 29, 2020, when he told the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by.”

They also quoted comments from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell made after the impeachment trial, when he said the attackers “believed they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their president.”

Judge Beryl Howell was unimpressed by the argument, Politico reported.

“This purported defense, if recognized, would undermine the rule of law,” she told a video bail hearing on Tuesday, according to Politico.

“If President Trump ordered or instructed a member of the Proud Boys [to] go off and murder somebody and someone went off and did that, it follows that … would immunize them from liability for that criminal act?” she said, as reported by Politico.” In effect, isn’t that what your argument is saying?”

Though Chrestman had been cleared for pretrial detention at home, Howell reversed that decision on Sunday, Politico reported.

At the conclusion of the hearing, she said that Chrestman “cannot be trusted to abide by any condition for release the court might impose instead of pretrial detention,” according to the outlet. “I don’t find this case to be a close call at all.”

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Proud Boy who led the storming the Capitol had manuals for homemade guns, bombs, and poisons on his computer, feds say

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Prosecutors allege these images show (L) Dominic Pezzola breaking into the Capitol with a riot shield, and (R) smoking a cigar inside the building.

  • A Proud Boy who led the Capitol break-in had bomb-making manuals on his computer, feds say.
  • Prosecutors said Dominic Pezzola was the cigar-smoking insurrectionist from January 20.
  • He has been indicted on numerous charges.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The bearded, cigar-smoking Proud Boys member led the Capitol’s invasion by a pro-Trump mob had manuals for making bombs, guns, and poisons on a thumb drive, federal prosecutors allege.

Dominic Pezzola, 43, was among the first rioters to charge the police lines during the Capitol’s insurrection following a pro-Trump rally on January 6, court documents say. 

The document, which argues for his pretrial detention, alleges he used a police riot shield to smash a Capitol window to let people in, making him “among the first – if not the first” to get inside the building.

His actions showed “planning, determination, and coordination,” prosecutors say.

The Proud Boys are a right-wing group of nationalists whose rallies are associated with violence and was a significant presence at the Capitol insurrection. Leader Enrique Tarrio was arrested the day before the riots on property destruction charges stemming from an earlier protest.

A police search of Pezzola’s home revealed a thumb drive containing hundreds of detailed pdfs, with titles including:

  • Several titles in a series called “Advanced Improvised Explosives.”
  • A book subtitled “The Ultimate DIY Machine Pistol.”
  • “Ragnar’s Big Book of Homemade Weapons.”
  • “The Advanced Anarchist’s Arsenal: Recipes for Improvised Incendiaries and Explosives.”

A lawyer for Pezzola, Mike Scibetta, did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment but told Reuters that the thumb drive had been given to Pezzola and contained “survivalist material.”  

“The government has cherry-picked a small portion of the paper to suit their narrative,” he told the news agency. 

Speaking to the Associated Press (AP), he described Pezzola as a family man for whom breaking into the Capitol would be “wildly out of character.” 

In separate events, the FBI now believes that pipe bombs found at the Capitol insurrection were put there the night before, according to CNN

In footage that he shared on social media, Pezzola smoked a cigar once inside the Capitol and bragged that he knew he and his could companions could “take this motherf—— over,” if they tried hard enough, prosecutors say. 

Court documents say Pezzola and a group of men then ended up in a confrontation with Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman, who drew the mob away from the Senate chamber.

Goodman was later hailed as a hero and escorted Vice-President Kamala Harris on President Joe Biden’s inauguration day. 

Pezzola_composite_small capitol riots
Prosecutors allege these images show (L) Dominic Pezzola breaking into the Capitol with a riot shield, and (R) smoking a cigar inside the building.

The bearded, cigar-smoking Proud Boys member led the Capitol’s invasion by a pro-Trump mob had manuals for making bombs, guns, and poisons on a thumb drive, federal prosecutors allege.

Dominic Pezzola, 43, was among the first rioters to charge the police lines during the Capitol’s insurrection following a pro-Trump rally on January 6, court documents say. 

The document, which argues for his pretrial detention, alleges he used a police riot shield to smash a Capitol window to let people in, making him “among the first – if not the first” to get inside the building.

His actions showed “planning, determination, and coordination,” prosecutors say.

The Proud Boys are a right-wing group of nationalists whose rallies are associated with violence and are accused of having a significant presence at the Capitol insurrection. Leader Enrique Tarrio was arrested ahead the day before the riots on property destruction charges stemming from an earlier protest.

A police search of Pezzola’s home revealed a thumb drive containing hundreds of detailed pdfs, with titles including:

  • Several titles in a series called “Advanced Improvised Explosives.”
  • A book subtitled “The Ultimate DIY Machine Pistol.”
  • “Ragnar’s Big Book of Homemade Weapons.”
  • “The Advanced Anarchist’s Arsenal: Recipes for Improvised Incendiaries and Explosives.”

A lawyer for Pezzola, Mike Scibetta, did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment but told Reuters that the thumb drive had been given to Pezzola and contained “survivalist material.”  

“The government has cherry-picked a small portion of the paper to suit their narrative,” he told the news agency. 

Speaking to the Associated Press (AP), he described Pezzola as a family man for whom breaking into the Capitol would be “wildly out of character.” 

In separate events, the FBI now believes that pipe bombs found at the Capitol insurrection were put there the night before, according to CNN

In footage that he shared on social media, Pezzola smoked a cigar once inside the Capitol and bragged that he knew he and his could companions could “take this motherf—— over,” if they tried hard enough, prosecutors say. 

Court documents say Pezzola and a group of men then ended up in a confrontation with Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman, who drew the mob away from the Senate chamber.

Goodman was later hailed as a hero and escorted Vice-President Kamala Harris on President Joe Biden’s inauguration day. 

A witness, who knows Pezzola as “Spaz,” told prosecutors that he was part of a group, who later bragged that they had been ready to kill every “m-f—er” they encountered. They wanted to target then-Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, he said.

They also discussed coming back on “the 20th,” understood to prosecutors as Biden’s inauguration day, the witness said. 

Unprecedented levels of security around both the Capitol and Washington DC accompanied Biden’s inauguration on January 20.

Pezzola went to ground after the riot, switching off his phone on January 9 and shaving off his beard, prosecutors said. Scibetta, the lawyer, disputed this interpretation, telling an ABC affiliate that there had not been a dramatic change to his appearance. 

When the manhunt reached his hometown of Rochester, New York, on January 15, Pezzol turned himself in.He was indicted on numerous charges, including conspiracy, civil disorder, unlawfully entering a restricted building, robbery, and assaulting officers, according to the Justice Department

Another Proud Boys member, 31-year-old William Pepe, was arrested on charges of conspiracy, civil disorder, and unlawfully entering restricted buildings or grounds, according to Reuters. 

They also discussed coming back on “the 20th,” understood to prosecutors as Biden’s inauguration day, the witness said. 

Unprecedented levels of security around both the Capitol and Washington DC accompanied Biden’s inauguration on January 20.

Pezzola went to ground after the riot, switching off his phone on January 9 and shaving off his beard, prosecutors said. Scibetta, the lawyer, disputed this interpretation, telling an ABC affiliate that there had not been a dramatic change to his appearance. 

When the manhunt reached his hometown of Rochester, New York, on January 15, Pezzol turned himself in.He was indicted on numerous charges, including conspiracy, civil disorder, unlawfully entering a restricted building, robbery, and assaulting officers, according to the Justice Department

Another Proud Boys member, 31-year-old William Pepe, was arrested on charges of conspiracy, civil disorder, and unlawfully entering restricted buildings or grounds, according to Reuters. 

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2 men who posed with ‘murder the media’ scrawled on Capitol doors say they were just there to report for their outlet, Murder the Media

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“Murder the media” seen written on a door at the Capitol a day after President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the building.

  • Nicholas Ochs and a man who identified himself as “Dick NeCarlo” were pictured next to the words “murder the media” scrawled on a door at the US Capitol on the January 6 insurrection.
  • Ochs — the leader of the Hawaii Proud Boys — and NeCarlo told the Los Angeles Times that they were there as citizen journalists for the outlet named “Murder the Media.”
  • “What I did was journalism,” NeCarlo told the paper. 
  • But the pair’s livestream of events also shows Ochs saying: “We came here to stop the steal,” according to the LA Times.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Two men who posed next to the words “murder the media” graffitied onto a door during last week’s Capitol insurrection say they are citizen journalists working for an outlet named Murder the Media, the Los Angeles Times reported

Nicholas Ochs and a man identifying himself to the paper as “Dick NeCarlo,” had joined crowds during the Capitol riot on January 6, where hundreds of pro-Trump insurrectionists broke into the building to protest the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s election victory. 

The House impeached President Donald Trump on Wednesday for “incitement to insurrection,” for his encouragement of the mob. 

Ochs is the leader of the Hawaii chapter of the Proud Boys, a group known for white nationalist, anti-Muslim, and misogynist rhetoric, and which is considered a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Och was later arrested by the FBI in connection with the break-in.

Ochs also made a failed run for Congress as a Republican in the last election, gaining the support of Roger Stone, the conservative political strategist whom Trump pardoned last month

During the Capitol riot, Ochs and NeCarlo livestreamed the events and posted a selfie, grinning and flashing a thumbs up next to the “murder the media” message. 

The selfie can be seen here on the left-hand side of a compilation of photos of the pair posted to social media: 

But NeCarlo, who did not give his real name, insisted to the Los Angeles Times that he and Ochs were there to do reporting for a right-wing Californian company with the same name – Murder the Media. According to The Daily Beast, the company produces podcasts and YouTube content. 

“What I did was journalism: Follow the events and show people what happened,” NeCarlo told the paper. “I’m not doing anything wrong.”

The LA Times reported that like many other reporters, the pair had interviewed participants and followed them into the Capitol.

But comments captured on their livestream and on subsequent social media appearances suggest little distance between their reporting and political affiliations. 

“Congress stopped the vote when we stormed the Capitol. As we’ve been saying all day: We came here to stop the steal,” Ochs said on his livestream, according to the LA Times.

NeCarlo later boasted about the experience on YouTube, saying: “All these protests and s—, I’ve been talking s— on it, but it’s about time I went down there and told them how to do it.”

The men’s positions cloud the distinction between reporting and advocacy. Most mainstream news organizations, including Insider, have strict rules barring reporters from any public affiliation with or support for a political cause.

As Insider’s Dave Levinthal has reported, there are often serious consequences for those who break those rules. 

Insider has contacted representatives for Ochs for comment.

It is unclear who wrote the phrase “murder the media” on the Capitol doors, but the graffiti was characteristic of the hostility to the press that day.

Reporters from multiple outlets had equipment smashed, and were forced to shelter in place, at the protests, according to The New York Times

Trump weaponized this hatred early in his term, and has made booing the media a signature part of his rallies. 

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Prosecutors are looking to modify Kyle Rittenhouse’s bail conditions after the Kenosha shooter flashed white power signs and was spotted out with Proud Boys

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Kyle Rittenhouse sits while listening during an extradition hearing in Lake County court Friday, Oct. 30, 2020, in Waukegan, Ill. Rittenhouse is accused of killing two protesters days after Jacob Blake was shot by police in Kenosha, Wis.

  • Kenosha County prosecutors filed a motion Wednesday seeking to modify Kyle Rittenhouse’s bail conditions.
  • The move comes after Rittenhouse, 18, was spotted at a bar after posting $2 million bail in November.
  • According to prosecutors, Rittenhouse was fraternizing with members of the Proud Boys and flashed a white power hand sign.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Kyle Rittenhouse may not have broken the conditions of his bail when he was spotted at a bar with his mother, but that’s just the problem, according to prosecutors who are seeking to modify the conditions of his release.

After posting $2 million bail in November, Rittenhouse, 18, was seen drinking at a bar in Wisconsin, where it is legal to drink in the company of one’s parents. That, police said, was not a crime.

But Kenosha County prosecutors on Wednesday said Rittenhouse – charged with killing two people at a Black Lives Matter protest in Kenosha last August – wasn’t just there with mom, but with members of the far-right Proud Boys, an extremist group that has engaged in street violence against anti-racist activists, Milwaukee television station TMJ4 reported.

Footage taken from security cameras at Pudgy’s Bar also appears to show Rittenhouse flashing the “okay” hand sign favored by white supremacists.

That, also, is not a violation of Rittenhouse’s bail conditions. But it should be, prosecutors argue.

In a motion obtained by TMJ4, the Kenosha County District Attorney’s Office asks that Rittenhouse be prohibited from drinking alcohol (they say he had three beers at Pudgy’s); prohibited from public displays of “white power” signs; and prohibited from having any contact with members of white supremacist organizations.

Rittenhouse is due to appear in court on March 10, with jury selection beginning March 29.

Have a news tip? Email this reporter: cdavis@insider.com

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Airbnb is banning hate group members like the Proud Boys ahead of the presidential inauguration

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Members of the Proud Boys march towards Freedom Plaza during a protest on December 12, 2020 in Washington, DC. Thousands of protesters who refuse to accept that President-elect Joe Biden won the election are rallying ahead of the electoral college vote to make Trump’s 306-to-232 loss official.

  • Airbnb is banning all “hate group members” — including the Proud Boys — from its platform as a part of its newly announced “Capitol Safety Plan” ahead of the presidential inauguration.
  • The company will be deleting accounts held by people who have been named by media or law enforcement as someone who committed a “violent criminal activity” at the historic Capitol siege.
  • Guests in the Washington, DC area who are a part of hate groups or “planning violence” may face legal repercussions from Airbnb.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Like other tech companies taking a stand following the Capitol siege, Airbnb announced on Monday that has been banning hate group members from its platform.

This isn’t the first time Airbnb has taken a stand against hate groups. Following the 2017 Charlottesville Unite the Right rally, Airbnb banned accounts from impending rally attendees looking to book a place to stay for the event, Gizmodo reported. Now, Airbnb is taking a page out of its own book by banning all members it identifies as belonging to a “hate group”, specifically naming the Proud Boys, in advance of specific events like the Presidential Inauguration on January 20.

Any platform members who have been cited by the media or law enforcement as Capitol siege attendees who partake in “violent criminal activity” or will also be banned, Airbnb said.  The platform will also be checking arrest logs from the DC Metro Police from the day of the Capitol siege.

This new slew of account bans is a part of the crowdsourcing rental platform’s new seven-step “Capitol Safety Plan” unveiled ahead of the inauguration on January 20. The plan also includes requiring bookers to verify identity, even if that means providing a government ID, asking hosts to reach out over concerns of hate group bookings, and offering the “neighbor support line” for Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia residences.

Read more: INTERVIEW: Airbnb co-founder Nate Blecharczyk on how the company survived its darkest pandemic days, why it went public now, and how he surprises Airbnb guests

The platform will also be reviewing Washington, DC reservations to cancel bookings and accounts made by those who are “violating certain community policies prohibiting violence or engaging in criminal activity.” To be extra secure, Airbnb will also be running further background checks on users who may seem suspicious under the new safety plan.

Anyone found who is a part of a hate group, planning violence, or violating the policies may face legal action from the company, Airbnb said.

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