Five Proud Boys charged with committing seditious conspiracy on Jan. 6 were denied a mistrial Thursday, CNN reported, in a case marked by allegations that dozens of government informants were embedded with the Jan. 6 defendants on the day of the Capitol riot.
Former Proud Boys National Chairman Enrique Tarrio, and members Ethan Nordean, Joseph Biggs, Zachary Rehl and Dominic Pezzola, are being tried together for allegedly conspiring to oppose the January 2021 transfer of presidential power and related charges. Rejecting their request for a mistrial, Judge Timothy Kelly said that all jurors had indicated they could maintain fair judgement in the case, despite several claiming in March that civilians had approached them outside the courthouse, with one juror expressing worries this month that someone might be following her, according to CNN. (RELATED: Ex-Air Force Officer Sentenced To Two Year Prison Term For Involvement In January 6 Riot By Federal Judge)
The individual juror said she was once outside a Washington, D.C., metro station when a stranger asked if she was serving on a jury, and she saw him multiple times, the outlet reported. A man on a bike reportedly once told three jurors near the courthouse he was watching an “interesting” trial there, and they noticed him watching them from the courtroom’s gallery the next day.
“The individual did not say that he knew they were jurors,” Kelly said of their first encounter with the man, according to CNN. Thursday’s officially sealed proceedings were inadvertently streamed in a courthouse media room until the judge was told the proceedings were being streamed and ordered the stream to end, the outlet reported.
The trial’s five defendants are among more than 1,000 people who have been charged in connection with the events of Jan. 6, 2021, according to NPR, when crowds forced their way into the U.S. Capitol while Congress was convened to certify the 2020 election. This is not the only recent instance of a defendant in the case trying to secure a mistrial.
Rehl’s lawyer Carmen Hernandez had motioned Sunday for Kelly to grant him a mistrial, arguing the government had not introduced “substantial independent evidence” of a conspiracy in the case.
Pezzola’s attorney Roger Roots argued in a Friday court filing that his client was “entitled to a new trial,” claiming at least 50 undercover officers, agents and other informants for the D.C. Metro Police Department, FBI and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) did surveillance work among defendants on Jan. 6.
“And there are reasons to suspect the true number is higher,” Roots said. “We still do not know the extent to which the crowd’s First Amendment demonstrations were transformed into violence by undercover law enforcement officers.”
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