Questions have been raised about Roger Stone’s links to far-right groups after five members of the Proud Boys were charged with seditious conspiracy in connection with the January 6 attack.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Monday that Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, former president of the Proud Boys, has been charged alongside fellow extremist group figures Joe Biggs, Ethan Nordean, Zachary Rehl and Dominic Pezzola.
The five members of the Proud Boys were handed the rare sedition charges for conspiring to “prevent, obstruct and delay” the certification of the 2020 Electoral College vote by storming the Capitol Building on January 6, 2021.
This is not the first time the DOJ has brought sedition charges in connection with the riot.
In January, members of the far-right Oath Keepers militia were also charged with conspiring to violently prevent the certification of President Joe Biden’s election victory, including six members who, according to the New York Timesprovided security for Stone in Washington DC on January 5 and 6, 2021.
Although Stone has not been charged with a crime in connection with Jan. 6 and denies knowledge of any planned illegal activity on Capitol Hill, his ties to far-right groups accused of involvement in the riot were brought to light again after Tarrio and the other The Proud Boys were charged with sedition.
Author, journalist and attorney Seth Abramson tweeted while discussing the charges: “I had a fleeting thought today, spontaneously, which I honestly never had before and which I’m still not sure of. meaning (even in my own reflection on Jan. 6): ‘When does Roger Stone flee the country?'”
Online activist group Occupy Democrats wrote: “Two violent right-wing extremist groups linked to Trump’s most senior political adviser, Roger Stone, have been linked in a riotous conspiracy indictment.”
Florida congressional candidate Cindy Banyai tweeted “Hold the seditionists accountable” while sharing footage purporting to show Stone alongside several members of the Proud Boys.
Stone, a longtime Trump ally who was pardoned by the former president after he was found guilty of lying to Congress as part of former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, has long been linked to the Proud Boys.
In February 2018, a video emerged of Stone declaring himself to be a “western chauvinist” – that’s how the members of the all-male band describe themselves – and frequently using Proud Boys for his personal safety and posing for photos with his friends. members.
According to The Daily Beast, the video was part of an induction in which Stone said he aligned himself with the group. Stone denied in a statement to The Daily Beast that he was a member of the Proud Boys.
In March 2018, Stone used members of the Proud Boys for protection while attending the Dorchester Republican Conference in Salem, Oregon.
Patrick Sheehan, a Dorchester board member who booked Stone, told the Willamette Week that Stone hired the far-right group because he was “worried about getting killed” as he constantly received death threats.
At the time, Proud Boys and fellow far-right band Patriot Prayer were engaged in frequent violent clashes with counter-protesters and antifa protesters on the streets of Portland, Oregon.
In February 2019, Tarrio was photographed at a Trump rally wearing a “Roger Stone Did Nothing Wrong” t-shirt.
In MayThe New York Times also reported that Tarrio was part of an online group chat called FOS – or Friends of Stone – which also included other figures charged with the Jan. 6 riot, including Owen Shroyer, who hosts a show on the network InfoWars from conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, and Stewart Rhodes, leader of the Oathkeepers.
After Rhodes and the other oath keepers were charged with sedition, questions were also raised about whether Stone was aware of their plans given his closeness to far-right extremists on January 6.
Stone admitted he had used members of the Oath Keepers, a far-right anti-government militia, for security before the January 6 riots, but did not know any of them on an ‘intimate basis’ .
“My interactions with them were completely professional, efficient, they were very polite and they helped keep me safe as I couldn’t move in any direction without security,” Stone told Alex Jones. Information wars show in March 2021.
As reported by The Washington Post, a documentary film crew recording Stone showed him using an encrypted messaging app on his phone to communicate with Rhodes and Tarrio on January 15, 2021.
Stone has been contacted for comment.
The DOJ said the five men charged Monday with sedition were part of a special chapter of the Proud Boys created by Tarrio and known as the “Ministry of Self-Defense.”
“Defendants directed, mobilized, and led members of the crowd on the Capitol grounds and into the Capitol, resulting in the dismantling of metal barricades, destruction of property, breaching of the Capitol building, and assaults on the forces of the Capitol. ‘order,’ prosecutors said.
“During and after the attack, Tarrio and his co-defendants claimed what happened on social media and in an encrypted chat room.”
Tarrio was not present in Washington DC on January 6, 2021, having been arrested two days prior for weapons charges and for burning a Black Lives Matter flag following a pro-Donald Trump rally in the capital in December 2020.