- There were at least 10 to 12 undercover officers from the D.C. Metro Police Department’s Narcotics Special Investigation Division among the Proud Boys on Jan. 6, defendant Dominic Pezzola’s lawyer Roger Roots said Monday, demanding a new trial.
- Roots had previously claimed that at least other 40 government informants were doing Jan. 6 surveillance.
- “This brings the total number of informants among defendants on or around Jan. 6 to 50 or more,” Roots said.
The D.C. Metro Police Department (MPD) had even more undercover officers embedded in the crowd on Jan. 6 than previously revealed, Proud Boys defendant Dominic Pezzola’s lawyer alleged Monday, calling for a new trial.
Pezzola, former Proud Boys national chairman Enrique Tarrio and members Ethan Nordean, Joseph Biggs and Zachary Rehl are being tried for allegedly conspiring to oppose the January 2021 transfer of presidential power and related charges, and his attorney Roger Roots alleged Wednesday that at least 40 undercover officers, agents and other informants for the MPD, FBI and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) did surveillance work among defendants on Jan. 6. The defense learned over the weekend that at least 10 to 12 plain clothes MPD Narcotics Special Investigation Division (NSID) officers were among the Proud Boys that day, Roots claimed in a Monday court filing.
“This brings the total number of informants among defendants on or around Jan. 6 to 50 or more,” Roots said. “And there are reasons to suspect the true number is higher.” (RELATED: Jan. 6 Defense Ditches Witness After Judge Forbids Bringing Up Her Work As An FBI Informant: REPORTS)
After the government presented MPD officer Nicholas Tomasula and two others to defense lawyers Friday for interview, Tomasula said that he went undercover on Jan. 6 as an NSID member, instructed to “blend into the crowd” at former President Donald Trump’s speech that day and record evidence on his body camera, according to Roots. Tomasula allegedly admitted to having been heard on video chanting “Whose House? Our House!” and “Stop the Steal!”
Tomasula said he did not know if the other NSID officers were recording with their body cameras, claiming he destroyed his iPhone and all of his text messages about Jan. 5 and 6 were automatically deleted, according to the attorney’s filing. Tomasula indicated that he did not report “any violence, violent talk, or insurrectionist plans among the Proud Boys or patriots,” Roots wrote, adding that the trial “is likely in its final week.”
“We still do not know the extent to which the crowd’s First Amendment demonstrations were transformed into violence by undercover law enforcement officers,” Roots said. “The Tomasula bodycam videos may be the tip of a much larger iceberg. Pezzola is entitled to a new trial in which he will be able to subpoena these witnesses, have these witnesses identify each other in videos of crowds at the Capitol on Jan. 6, and identify whether the other undercover Metro officers were wearing GoPro or bodycams that day.”
Roots alleged that MPD officers “incited the crowds into acts of violence and open conflict as the crowd approached the U.S. Capitol building.” His March 31 motion for permission to subpoena Jan. 6 rioter Ray Epps had referenced defendant William Pope‘s claims that undercover MPD officers were instigating the Jan. 6 crowd from within to storm the Capitol. Epps has denied accusations that he was an FBI informant.
Roots accused prosecutors Monday of illegally withholding evidence involving government agencies other than the FBI.
“The FBI had confidential human sources positioned at the very highest levels of the Proud Boys, including several who were the actual presidents of Proud Boy chapters,” Roots said. “There were also FBI confidential human sources within the ‘Ministry of Self Defense’ Proud Boy group— the very group that the government claims was the vehicle, the means, and the mechanism for the mythical Proud Boy plot to overthrow the U.S. government on January 6, 2021.”
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