Former Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio was convicted on seditious conspiracy charges alongside three other leaders of the right-wing group in connection with the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.
The verdict, delivered in a Washington, D.C., courtroom Thursday, represents the third consecutive win for the Justice Department as it brings the rarely used charge, securing guilty verdicts both for the self-proclaimed chauvinist group and the far-right Oath Keepers militia.
Seditious conspiracy is among the most weighty charges the Justice Department has brought as a result of the attack, carrying up to 20 years in prison.
During the trial, which lasted for more than three months, prosecutors reviewed how the group discussed their plans for Jan. 6, 2021, ahead of the rally, including a memo titled “1776 Returns,” which outlined plans to occupy congressional buildings and the layout of the complex.
Prosecutors credited the Proud Boys with being some of the first to breach barriers and enter the Capitol, while attorneys for the five men on trial claim they never intended to storm the Capitol, arguing their discussions were just rhetoric.
Tarrio was convicted alongside Ethan Nordean, Joseph Biggs and Zachary Rehl, who led chapters in Washington, Florida, and Pennsylvania, respectively.
Tarrio’s guilty verdict is especially significant as he was not present in Washington, D.C., the day of the attack, ordered by a judge to remain outside the city after being arrested just days prior in connection with burning a Black Lives Matter flag taken from a nearby church.
Like Oath Keepers leader Stuart Rhodes, who did not enter the Capitol but remained outside connected to other members via a walkie-talkie app, a jury deemed Tarrio’s involvement in the plot sufficient to justify the conviction for attempting to overthrow the government.
The jury was unable to reach a consensus on a fifth member of the group, Dominic Pezzola, and remained in deliberation on the seditious conspiracy charge as well as others. However, he was found guilty of taking a police shield from an officer, later using it to smash a Capitol window to force entrance into the building.
All five members of the group were convicted on several other major charges, including obstruction of an official proceeding, and several conspiracy charges related to preventing lawmakers and law enforcement from carrying out their duties.
The jury also returned several guilty verdicts in connection with destroying property but remains in deliberation on other charges, including for assaulting law enforcement.
The Proud Boys’ efforts came just months after a 2020 presidential debate in which former President Trump told the group to “stand back and stand by.”
Prosecutors told jurors the group viewed itself as “Trump’s army” and was prepared for “all-out war” to stop Biden from becoming president.
The Proud Boys were “lined up behind Donald Trump and willing to commit violence on his behalf,” prosecutor Conor Mulroe said in his closing argument.
During the trial, prosecutors displayed multiple text messages and communications among the group, discussing the plans for the day and the need for war and revolution.
There was even one in which Tarrio claimed responsibility for the attack.
“Make no mistake. We did this,” he wrote.
Updated at 11:49 a.m.