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Source: EVA MARIE UZCATEGUI / Getty

The former leader and other members of the Proud Boys white nationalist group have been hit with charges of seditious conspiracy for their roles in the attack on the United States Capitol on January 6th, 2021.

According to reports, the charges of seditious conspiracy were brought against former chairman Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, Ethan Nordean, Joseph Biggs, Zachary Rehl, and Dominic Pezzola in an amended federal indictment unsealed in a federal district court in Washington, D.C. All the men had been previously charged in an earlier indictment filed in March for conspiring to obstruct the certification of the 2020 Presidential Election which was being conducted during the joint session of Congress on January 6th. The trial for that case is set to take place in August. Charles Donohoe, another Proud Boys member, pleaded guilty in April to those charges and is now cooperating with the federal government in their ongoing investigation.

The news of these serious charges makes it the second time that the Justice Department has used them against those involved in the attack on the Capitol. In January, eleven members and associates of the Oath Keepers far-right anti-government group were charged with seditious conspiracy. This group included its founder and leader, Stewart Rhodes. The charges of seditious conspiracy are notable due to their political overtones since the first Sedition Act of 1798 and the heavy burden of evidence that is required to show that at least two people made an agreement to overthrow government authority or prevent the execution of a U.S. law.

If convicted, each man faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Tarrio has already served five months in jail after being arrested for burning a Black Lives Matter flag in front of a historic Black church in Washington D.C. in December 2020. That incident had initially led local police to bar him from the city on January 4th, two days before the insurrection at the Capitol. The allegations also add more anticipation to the air for the upcoming first hearing held by the House Committee investigating the insurrection which will air on Thursday evening (June 9th).

 

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