- A DC judge weighs ex-Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio’s bid to be released from prison pending trial on the Jan. 6 conspiracy.
- On Wednesday, the judge said in a hearing that Tarrio’s “We did this” boast is “strong” evidence to keep him captive.
- Tarrio is accused of directing the far-right extremist group’s attack on the Capitol; more than 40 members pay.
Ex-Proud Boys chairman Enrique Tarrio hopes to be released on $1 million bail while awaiting trial on his Jan. 6, 2021 conspiracy case — but a DC judge said Wednesday that the former extremist group leader’s bragging rights “We did this” is strong evidence to keep him in jail.
Tarrio had the boast against his top lieutenants Proud Boys on an encrypted chat channel minutes after chapter leader Dominic Pezzola in Rochester, New York, reportedly broke the first window of the Capitol with a riot shield forcibly stolen from an officer.
“Take Mr. Tarrio at his own words,” a federal prosecutor, Jason McCullough, argued Wednesday against Tarrio’s bail offer.
“At 2:24 [p.m.], he says, ‘Make no mistake. We did this,” McCullough told DC District Court Judge Timothy Kelly.
“Later, at 4 o’clock, he says – when asked what we should do – he says, ‘Do it again.'”
The district attorney pointed out that the day before the Capitol breach, Tarrio was released on bail for burning a BLM banner stolen from a historic DC church.
As a condition of that bail, Tarrio had to stay out of DC on January 6, 2021. But prosecutors allege he led his Proud Boys forces anyway, from a Baltimore hotel room.
And Tarrio’s men “were the tip of the spear on Jan. 6,” the district attorney told the judge of the successful attempt to disrupt Congress as it confirmed Joe Biden’s presidential victory.
“Mr Tarrio celebrates it publicly and especially privately and takes responsibility for it,” the prosecutor said.
“Since the rioters have been in the building for 11 minutes, Mr. Tarrio is in an encrypted private chat with that same group and says, ‘Make no mistake. We did this.’ In the same chat, he is also asked, “Are we a militia yet?” To which he replies, “Yup.”
“Mr. Tarrio exercises control over these men,” the prosecutor even said from Baltimore. “And he knows what they’ve done.”
Defense attorney Nayib Hassan argued that Tarrio always respected bail terms when he was released after two previous arrests and now poses no flight risk.
Tarrio’s entire family lives in South Florida and is ready to deposit $1 million bail secured by his grandfather and aunt’s homes, and would agree to house arrest at his mother’s home in Miami, his mother said. lawyer.
“It goes without saying that Mr. Tarrio has resigned from his position as chairman of the Proud Boys. I think that is well known,” the lawyer noted.
“He is no longer chairman of the Proud Boys,” the lawyer added. “He hasn’t done anything at all since January 6, communicated with the Proud Boys.”
And as for the Proud Boys, Hassan insisted they were “just a group of friends talking and arguing, but never planning anything per se.”
The two sides also issued opposing statements from a meeting held on January 5, 2021, in a parking garage in DC, between Tarrio and Stewart Rhodes, the now indicted leader of the Oath Keepers.
Hassan said Tarrio’s sole purpose in going to the garage was to meet an attorney, Kellye SoRelle, who represented Oath Keepers and Latinos before Trump.
Tarrio was interested in SoRelle representing him, Hassan said, and in fact can be heard on video filmed prior to the meeting saying, “I just need to talk to her.”
McCullough objected that Tarrio’s agenda after his release from bail went beyond an innocent legal consultation and that Tarrio, whose phone had been seized by law enforcement, can be heard on the same tape: “I need a communication device” and “I have access need to my Telegram.”
His co-defendants, meanwhile, communicated about Tarrio and his “plan” for the riot, prosecutors said.
“The fundamental point here is that on his release, Mr Tarrio was focused on and engaged in regaining control and regaining communications for the command and control structure he had set up prior to Jan. 6,” the prosecutor said.
The judge did not say when he would rule on Tarrio’s bail request, only that it would be “soon”. All five Proud Boy defendants are back in court on Thursday.
Speaking about his bail decision, the judge said, “I think it largely has to do with the strength of the evidence,” rather than anything to do with the garage meeting, or Tarrio’s criminal record and community ties.
“And I understand many of your points, Mr. Hassan, that there is a lot of circumstantial evidence,” the judge continued.
“There’s a lot of evidence here, and some of it connects more strongly to your client — like when he said straight up, ‘Make no mistake. We did this.’ And some of it is very deeply connected to your client. And I’ll figure it all out.”