Proud Boys Leaders Ordered Held in Capitol Riot Probe

A judge in Washington ordered two leaders of the far-right Proud Boys to be jailed as they await trial on charges that they conspired to orchestrate the violent riot by Donald Trump supporters at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

The Proud Boys leaders, Ethan Nordean and Joseph Biggs, had been released following their arrests in the aftermath of the riot. But on Monday, U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly ordered them held based on new accusations in an updated indictment filed by prosecutors in March.

Proud Boys Leaders Ordered Held in Capitol Riot Probe

“The defendants stand charged with trying to steal one of the crown jewels of our country by interfering with the peaceful transfer of power,” Kelly said in a ruling he read aloud at a hearing. “It’s no exaggeration to say the rule of law, the durability of our constitutional order, and in the end the very existence of our republic is threatened by such conduct.”

Nordean, widely known as “Rufio Panman,” is the president of his local Proud Boys chapter in Washington State, while Biggs is a self-described Proud Boys events organizer from Florida, according to prosecutors. They are accused of conspiring with two other members of the Proud Boys to break into the Capitol.

Prosecutors cited a series of messages in which Biggs and Nordean appeared to coordinate the Proud Boys’ efforts the night before the riot. On Jan. 5, a member of a Proud Boys group on the Telegram messaging app wrote that “rufio has taken control as a singke [sic] point of contact,” according to court papers. At one point that night, Biggs posted in the group, “We are trying to avoid getting into any s--- tonight. Tomorrow’s the day.”

While the government has charged more than 300 people who breached the Capitol on Jan. 6, the Justice Department has recently zeroed in on a handful of conspiracy cases involving members of the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, a far-right militia, accusing defendants like Nordean and Biggs of orchestrating the riot.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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