Proud Boys seditious conspiracy trial delayed after defendants said Jan. 6 House committee hearings could “taint” jury pool

Washington- A group of Proud Boys accused of seditious conspiracy on Wednesday he successfully petitioned a judge to delay his trial until at least the end of the year. The move comes less than two weeks after his alleged leadership role in the January 6 attack on the Capitol took center stage in the first House Select Committee public hearing on the mutiny.

Judge Timothy Kelly said he “reluctantly” agreed to move the trial’s start date to December, pushing back the previously scheduled start date of August 8.

Spearheaded by defendant Joseph Biggs, who investigators say is a Proud Boys event organizer and who is accused of leading the far-right group’s rise to Capitol Hill, the group argued that the publicity and attention they received during the hearings would make his August trial unfair.

“The trial is estimated to last four to six weeks,” argued Biggs’ defense attorney. “Approximately 20 million Americans, including potential jurors in this judicial district, watched and heard the production in prime time on Thursday night.”

The select committee of the House of January 6 alleged in its first in a series of public hearings that hundreds of Proud Boys began marching on Capitol Hill even before then-President Donald Trump’s speech began at the nearby Ellipse. One of the two witnesses who testified at the hearing was wanted nicka filmmaker who was with the Proud Boys on January 6.

The defendants argued in court papers that this focus on the accusations against them would inject bias into a Washington, D.C. jury pool that is likely already “overrepresented among the hearing’s audience.”

Criminal investigators at the Washington, DCUS District Attorney’s Office plead the groupled by Enrique Tarrio, conspired to obstruct and stop the Electoral College vote count by forming a mob to force entry into the Capitol building.

Capitol Breach extremist groups
In this Jan. 6, 2021, file photo, Proud Boys, including Joseph Biggs, front left, walk toward the U.S. Capitol in Washington in support of President Donald Trump. Holding the megaphone is Ethan Nordean, second from left.

Carolyn Kaster/AP

Prosecutors disclosed in a court filing late last week that they sent a letter to members of the House select committee requesting access to transcripts and relevant evidence that may have been collected to assist in the criminal investigation related to the riot. The interview transcripts, which the committee says number more than 1,000, are “potentially relevant to our overall criminal investigations” and relevant to specific cases already in process, according to the DOJ letter.

They have tried to gain access to congressional evidence, but have so far been unsuccessful.

House Jan. 6 committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson said that while the committee is cooperating with the Justice Department and may allow prosecutors to see some of the evidence later this summer, they have their own schedule for releases and will not release transcripts until deemed fit.

Biggs and some of his co-defendants argued that the pending release of these transcripts and a final committee report, which prosecutors said they were told could occur in September, would lead to further “contamination” of potential jurors. responsible for deciding their decision. fault

“Arguably the most strident and spectacular proposals regarding the alleged role of the Proud Boys on January 6, 2021 are yet to come and be displayed before the nation in the coming days,” Biggs’ attorney wrote Tuesday, arguing that the trial should be postponed. at least until December.

Tarrio, the alleged leader of the Proud Boys on January 6, opposed changing the trial date. His lawyer told the court that Tarrio “believes that a fair jury will never be achieved in Washington DC, whether the trial is in August, December or next year,” adding that “Tarrio is innocent of all the charges contained in the prosecution and every day he spends locked up in jail is a travesty of justice.

Federal prosecutors notably acquiesced in the proposed delay, arguing that it was “necessary to avoid the potential constitutional and due process issues that have been raised in the parties’ submissions.”

The government agreed that the lack of transcripts of committee interviews and other potentially relevant information could prevent the government from providing the defendants with all the information legally required for a fair trial.

“It is reasonably foreseeable that relevant information about the guilt (or innocence) of the defendants may soon be disclosed to the parties and the public. The failure of the parties to prepare their respective cases to account for such additional information is potentially detrimental to all parties. ,” prosecutors wrote.

They noted: “If the trial in this case does not proceed, the parties to this case could find themselves in the unprecedented position of litigating a criminal trial simultaneously with the release of a congressional report that is likely to include robust descriptions of criminal conduct.” that would be up for discussion at trial.

tarry, Biggs and co-defendants Zachary Rehl, Ethan Nordean and Dominic Pezzola have pleaded not guilty to the charges against them and remain in pretrial detention. Charles Donohoe, another suspected leader of the group, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and assaulting and hampering police officers. at the beginning of this year and is now cooperating with investigators.

Wednesday’s successful schedule change was not the first time Biggs has worked to change the course of the pending jury trial due to alleged jury bias at the Jan. 6 committee hearings in the House.

Last week, Biggs’ attorney again asked Kelly to move the criminal trial out of Washington, DC, and accused the House committee of encouraging “misrepresentations” and “outright lies” about the Proud Boys.

“The good, well-intentioned, informed, and media-savvy citizenry of the District of Columbia from which the jurors are drawn will believe the show is packaged,” Biggs’ application said, “They trust Congress.”

So far, despite more than a dozen separate attempts, no January 6 defendant has successfully petitioned a judge to move their criminal cases out of the nation’s capital.

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