Three cheers for U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly!
A federal judge has revoked bail for two leaders of the Proud Boys, a paramilitary right-wing extremist group, contending that newly revealed evidence of their role in the Jan. 6 breach of the Capitol has shown them to be too dangerous to remain free while awaiting trial.
Ethan Nordean of Washington state and Joseph Biggs of Florida are charged with conspiring to stop the certification of the 2020 election — and with organizing and leading dozens of Proud Boys to the Capitol, many of whom were among the earliest to breach the building.
Kelly’s ruling reverses earlier decisions by federal judges to release Nordean and Biggs under strict conditions. In the government’s earlier bid to detain Nordean, Judge Beryl Howell described weaknesses in the case that had been presented, and prosecutors declined to present evidence supporting their most damaging claims — in part because they were preparing to unseal a graver set of charges against Nordean and other Proud Boys leaders. That indictment was issued in March, linking Nordean, Biggs and two other Proud Boys regional leaders — Zach Rehl and Charles Donohoe — in the alleged conspiracy.
Here’s that Grand Jury Indictment…
Both were indicted in one of many Proud Boys conspiracy cases to stem from the investigation into the assault on the building that followed a pro-Donald Trump rally.
“The defendants stand charged with seeking to steal one of the crown jewels of our country, in a sense, by interfering with the peaceful transfer of power,” the US district judge Timothy Kelly said as he explained his decision on Monday. “It’s no exaggeration to say the rule of law … in the end, the existence of our constitutional republic is threatened by it.”
The judge’s decision to detain the pair is a reversal of an earlier notion to release them after the Department of Justice argued for pre-trial detention based on new accusations in an updated indictment filed by prosecutors in March.
Kelly walked through the evidence presented so far in support of the government’s allegations against Nordean and Biggs, including numerous social media posts after the presidential election and later encrypted communications regarding planning for Jan. 6. Much of that evidence was not available when the men were initially released from custody.
Nordean and Biggs are both alleged to have entered the Capitol on Jan. 6 along with other Proud Boys when the mob of Trump supporters overwhelmed police and stormed the building. Neither defendant, however, stands accused of fighting with law enforcement that day.
Kelly said the men possess leadership and organizational skills that could pose a potential threat in the future, including in the period ahead of their trial. Because of that, the judge said, they could evade any conditions of release that he could think of to try to limit their contacts with the outside world.
The FBI continues to seek the public’s assistance in identifying individuals who participated in unlawful conduct during the Capitol Insurrection.
If you have information about assholes who conspired to overturn our democracy at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, call 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324) or leave a tip online. You may also submit relevant photos and videos to the FBI here.
If you just can’t get enough information about the assholes who tried to flush our democracy down the shitter, here are some excellent resources…