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Federal Judge Rules Proud Boys Must Face Charges Related to Jan 6th Insurrection

Federal Judge Rules Proud Boys Must Face Charges Related to Jan 6th Insurrection

A U.S. judge on Tuesday allowed a criminal case relating to the deadly January 6th Capitol attack to move forward, declining to dismiss charges against four members of the far-right Proud Boys militia.

U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly rejected arguments by the four Proud Boys defendants that obstruction charges should be thrown out in a written ruling.

The four members of the Proud Boys who have been charged in this particular case stand accused of violating a federal law that makes it a felony to obstruct an official government proceeding, among other charges. That obstruction charge has been used by prosecutors in more than 230 of the 700 criminal cases against participants in the assault. Earlier this month, another judge in the District of Columbia’s federal court upheld prosecutors’ use of the same obstruction charge in a separate case against two riot defendants.

Judge Kelly also rejected the defendants’ collective claim of being protected by the First Amendment. The Judge wrote that the defendants had many non-violent ways to express their opinions about the 2020 presidential election, but still chose to participate in the violence at the Capitol.

The four men — Ethan Nordean, Joseph Biggs, Zachary Rehl, and Charles Donohoe–were indicted in March on charges including conspiracy as well as obstructing an official proceeding. Their lawyers also argued that the obstruction charge doesn’t apply to their clients’ cases because Congress’ certification of the Electoral College vote was not an “official proceeding,” but Judge Kelly disagreed.

 

 

All four of the Proud Boys named in this case remain jailed while they await a trial scheduled for May. Separately, the House Select Committee investigation has already heard testimony from other members of the Proud Boys and their fellow citizen militia groups the Oath Keepers and the Three Percenters.

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