The former national chairman of the extremist group Proud Boys pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to charges of conspiring to block congressional certification of the 2020 election as part of the January 6, 2021 assault on the Capitol.
Enrique Tarrio, 38, pleaded through his attorney at a hearing in Washington, D.C., where he is accused along with five other members of the group of conspiring to obstruct Congress as lawmakers voted to confirm the election of President Joe Biden.
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The charges against Tarrio were added to an existing conspiracy case involving the other band members in March, even though the high-profile former Proud Boy executive was not present at the Capitol on the day of the deadly assault.
Prosecutors alleged that Tarrio “continued to lead and encourage the Proud Boys before and during the events of January 6, 2021, and that he claimed what happened on social media and in a crypto chat room. during and after the attack.
Tarrio faces one count of conspiring to obstruct official process and obstructing official process, as well as two counts each of assaulting, resisting or obstructing certain officers and destruction of government property.
Federal authorities reportedly investigated Tarrio’s activities on the eve of the uprising, including a brief meeting in a downtown Washington parking lot between the leader of the Proud Boys and Stewart Rhodes, the founder of the Oath Keepers militia, who also faces a conspiracy. charges.
Tarrio was the national leader of the Proud Boys in the months leading up to the January 6 attack. Since the uprising, he has publicly criticized the actions of other Proud Boys who attacked the Capitol, saying the riot was a “bad idea”.
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Tarrio told a Miami NBC News station last year that he had cooperated with the FBI and police in multiple investigations into the Jan. 6 events.
Tarrio has a long history of cooperation with federal authorities. Last year Reuters reported that he was a “prolific” informant for the FBI. Since that revelation, his relationship with the Proud Boys has been rocky at best, with several chapters dismissing his leadership of the group. As a result, the Proud Boys have largely gone their separate ways since January 6, 2021.
Tarrio’s attorney, Nayib Hassan, told USA TODAY on Tuesday that his client had “travelled around the country” while in federal custody. Tarrio has been moved from jail to jail, making it difficult to communicate with him, the Miami-based attorney said.
Hassan said he plans to request that Tarrio be transferred to a Miami-area federal prison to be closer to him as he prepares for trial. The lawyer should also renew a request for release from his client.
Shortly after Tarrio’s arrest last month, a federal magistrate ordered that he be jailed pending trial.