Donohoe was among a handful of Proud Boys leaders who helped organize the group’s large presence in Washington, D.C., on January 6, 2021. He helped set up the communication channels they used to coordinate their activities and helped create new ones when Tarrio was arrested on January 4, 2021 on unrelated charges.
Prosecutors also said Donohoe provided specialized radios for members of the group so they could communicate during the attack on the Capitol and that he also urged members of the group to “atomize” a set of Telegram messages to avoid to be detected. Donohoe also raised concerns in one of those posts about the possibility of “gang charges” following Tarrio’s arrest.
Donohoe approached the Capitol in one of the first waves to reach the building on Jan. 6 alongside others charged with conspiracy, including Ethan Nordean, Joseph Biggs and Zachary Rehl. He helped another Proud Boy, Dominic Pezzola, carry a stolen police riot shield to the base of the building. Pezzola would later use this shield to smash a window in the Senate wing that led to the first breach of the Capitol building that day.
Donohoe’s plea is one of the most significant developments in prosecutors’ 15-month investigation into the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, which resulted in approximately 800 arrests and sparked a manhunt in the nationwide for over 2,000 potential January 6 crowd members.
The Proud Boys case is one of the few to focus on the work of extremist groups that prosecutors say planned their efforts to interfere with the transfer of power in the service of keeping the then president in power. Donald Trump. Prosecutors have also charged around 20 members of the Oath Keepers with mounting a similar plot to obstruct Congress – and 11 members of that group also face even more serious seditious conspiracy charges, alleging they prepared to violence that day.
The other Proud Boys leaders are set to go on trial in August.