- A federal judge ruled two accused Proud Boys leaders would be jailed again, ahead of their trials.
- Ethan Nordean and Joseph Biggs are facing charges related to the January 6 Capitol riot.
- But prosecutors introduced new evidence last month that showed the defendants planning the attack.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Two accused Capitol rioters and Proud Boys leaders are headed back to jail to await trial on charges related to the Capitol attack, after prosecutors introduced new evidence that ended the men’s short bout of freedom.
Ethan Nordean of Washington and Joseph Biggs of Florida are accused of conspiring to halt the certification of President Joe Biden’s electoral victory on January 6. The two are also accused of coordinating and leading members of the far-right paramilitary group, the Proud Boys, in an organized attack on the US Capitol as some of the first rioters to breach the building, according to prosecutors.
Nordean and Biggs were both arrested and jailed following the siege, but were granted pretrial release under strict conditions earlier this year.
Federal Judge Beryl Howell noted weaknesses in the government’s case during the prosecution’s first bid to detain the men, according to Politico, but prosecutors at the time declined to present supporting evidence for the most incriminating allegations, in part because a more serious set of charges against the Proud Boys were in the works, the outlet reported.
Prosecutors issued that indictment in March, connecting Nordean, Biggs and two other suspected regional Proud Boys leaders, Zach Rehl and Charles Donohoe, to the apparent conspiracy.
On Monday, Judge Timothy Kelly, a Trump appointee, ordered Nordean and Biggs to be arrested and jailed again while they await their pending trials, the Associated Press reported.
Prosecutors introduced new evidence including messages the defendants sent using Telegram the government says show Nordean and Biggs taking a central role in strategically planning the obstruction of Congress on January 6, when a pro-Trump mob breached the Capitol in an attack that left five dead.
Court documents released in March accuse Nordean of taking “ultimate leadership of the Proud Boys’ activities” on January 6, after fellow members reportedly nominated him to have “war powers” following the arrest of the group’s leader, Enrique Tarrio, days before the siege. Prosecutors say Nordean helped plan the Proud Boys’ “tactical” and coordinated attack, that included members wearing dark colors and positioning themselves strategically across the Capitol campus to avoid detection.
Biggs, meanwhile, is accused of acting as an on-the-ground leader and a point of contact for dozens of Proud Boys in attendance, Politico reported. Biggs allegedly entered, exited, and then re-entered the building during the attack, making it as far as the Senate chamber, according to USA Today.
During his Monday ruling, Kelly said though the presented evidence does not suggest the defendants used physical violence or ordered criminal acts that day, the men’s encrypted communications and actions leading up to, during, and after the riot, show Nordean and Biggs participated in planning and celebrating the attack.
Earlier this month, lawyers for Nordean argued he shouldn’t be sent back to jail, in part because other accused Capitol rioters have alleged mistreatment behind bars, according to a Politico article.