Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio's trial pushed to December after issues finding 'IMPARTIAL JURY'
The trial for the extremist group of five Proud Boys leaders including Enrique Tarrio, who are facing seditious conspiracy charges related to the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol to stop Congress from certifying President Joe Biden's 2020 electoral victory will be postponed until at least December. US District Judge Timothy Kelly, with the backing of several of the Proud Boys defendants and the Justice Department, said he would "reluctantly" push the trial from August 8 to December 12 which prosecutors anticipate lasting four to six weeks.
The decision to delay the trial came after the attorneys for several of the men argued that their clients couldn't get a fair trial by an impartial jury in the midst of a public hearing on the House committee investigating the Capitol attack. They're also waiting for the committee to share documents that could become trial evidence. Earlier, the Justice Department on Monday, June 6, charged the head of the Proud Boys, Enrique Tarrio, and four other leaders with seditious conspiracy in the January 6 US Capitol attack. Judge Kelly's ruling, means that one of the two highest-profile cases arising from the Capitol riots will be decided beyond the two-year anniversary of the insurrection.
The defendants include Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, 38, of Miami, Florida, the former national chairman of the Proud Boys; Ethan Nordean, 31, of Auburn, Washington; Joseph Biggs, 38, of Ormond Beach, Florida; Zachary Rehl, 37, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Dominic Pezzola, 44, of Rochester, New York.
The trial had been scheduled to begin on August 8 and was expected to last more than a month, which raised the possibility that the proceeding would clash with the House select committee's planned final hearing and public report in September. Justice Department prosecutors consented to the delay. They said the House committee's failure to share the deposition and interview transcripts is also hampering their ability to investigate and prosecute January defendants. The panel has so far preferred to retain exclusive control of the evidence it has gathered. Additionally, Rep. Jamie Raskin is planning a subsequent hearing, slated for July, that will focus on the nexus between Trump-world and domestic extremism, including the Proud Boys. The Justice Department notes that the hearing could create additional pretrial publicity for the Proud Boys.
One of the defense lawyers, John Hull, wrote in a court filing that the House hearings were tainting the jury pool of "lovably dorky, wonky, media-attentive Washingtonians," reports Business Insider. Meanwhile, the prosecutors said that the additional time would help them to review information from the House select committee that could be "relevant to defendants" guilt. Federal prosecutors wrote, "the parties in this case could find themselves in the unprecedented position of litigating a criminal trial simultaneous to the release of a Congressional report that is likely to include robust descriptions of the criminal conduct of the defendants."
Tarrio, however, is the only one opposed to delaying the trial which was scheduled on August 8. "Our position is that it doesn't matter when this case gets set for trial, whether it's August, or December," Sabino Jauregui, Tarrio's attorney, told the judge. "We won't get an impartial jury in Washington, DC," Jauregui said. "We're ready for trial August 8." However, the judge appeared to brush aside Tarrio's opposition. "Mr. Tarrio is looking forward to his day in trial and showing a complete picture of all the pieces of evidence the government intends to present at trial," Jauregui said.
The judge refused to take federal prosecutors' suggestion that opening statements be scheduled for January 2 after the holidays. "We're not going to have that many weeks from the time we start picking a jury until an opening statement," he said. "The parties should be prepared to open that week," he added. "We're not going to have these folks sit around from December until January waiting for an opening statement," the judge said. "I just don't see a world where that is appropriate. We'll get a running start, and we should be prepared to pick them. At the end of the day, it's not rocket science."
At the House committee's first hearing, the panel played footage of interviews in which Proud Boys members said they felt emboldened by Trump telling the extremist group to "stand back and stand by" during a debate in September 2020. In one interview with the House committee, Tarrio said that he is regretting not selling t-shirts brandished with the words "Stand back and stand by." "One of the vendors on my page actually beat me to it, but I wish I would've made a 'stand back stand by' t-shirt."