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Federal judge orders ex-Proud Boys leader to be detained until Jan. 6 trial


WASHINGTON — A federal judge has ordered that the former national chairman of the right-wing Proud Boys organization remain held until his trial following his arrest and indictment in connection with the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Releasing Enrique Tarrio before his trial would not reasonably assure the safety of the community, U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly wrote in a ruling, denying his request for release while awaiting trial. He ordered Tarrio be held at a federal detention center in Miami, Florida, the state where Tarrio was arrested in March.

Kelly said the charges against Tarrio were “very serious” and involved an “alleged conspiracy to obstruct the certification of the Electoral College vote and thus to interfere with the peaceful transfer of power, one of our Nation’s crown jewels.”

Image: In a screengrab made from video, Stewart Rhodes of the Oath Keepers, wearing a cowboy hat, and Enrique Tarrio, right, in a garage in Washington on the night of Jan. 5, 2021.
In a screengrab made from video, Stewart Rhodes of the Oath Keepers, wearing a cowboy hat, and Enrique Tarrio, right, in a garage in Washington on the night of Jan. 5, 2021.U.S. District Court

While he “was not physically present near the Capitol” on the day of the riot, Kelly wrote, “Tarrio’s alleged leadership and organizational role in the conspiracy — as well as his alleged experience using encrypted communications channels to conceal his activity from law enforcement — suggests that he has skill set, resources, and networks to plan similar challenges to the lawful functioning of the United States government in the future.”

Kelly’s ruling upheld the decision of a federal magistrate judge in Florida, who ruled in March that there were no conditions of release which could assure public safety.

Video filmed by a documentary crew in a parking garage near the Capitol on the evening of Jan. 5 shows Tarrio speaking with Stewart Rhodes, the founder of the right-wing militia group the Oath Keepers. Rhodes and others have been charged with seditious conspiracy in connection with the Jan. 6 attack, and at least three members of the Oath Keepers have pleaded guilty to that seditious conspiracy charge.

“Not much about the substance” of the meeting can be gleaned from the tapes, Kelly said, noting that “at one point, Tarrio and others motion for the filmmaker to stop.”

Tarrio was previously sentenced to five months behind bars for burning a Black Lives Matter banner during a pro-Trump demonstration in D.C. in December 2020.

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