The judge refused to drop the case against four Proud Boys accused of plotting to overthrow the US Capitol in order to suspend Congress to secure President Joe Biden's victory in the election.
U.S. Regional Judge Timothy Kelly on Tuesday dismissed the defendants 'attorneys' arguments that four men - Ethan Nordean, Joseph Biggs, Zachary Rehl and Charles Donohoe - were charged with misconduct protected by the First Amendment.
Kelly said the defendants had many non-violent ways to express their views on the 2020 presidential election.
"The defendants have been charged with felony criminal mischief for firing on a sculpture with a shotgun, or trying to seduce a minor." "Furthermore, even if the accused conduct had some obvious features, it lost all the protection of the original amendment that it may have had."
Judge refuses to drop charges against four Proud Boy leaders involved in the January 6 massacre
DEC. 30, 202100: 13
Nordean, Biggs, Rehl and Donohoe were charged in March with charges including conspiracy to commit conspiracy and obstruction of justice. All four are still in custody pending a May trial.
Proponents of her case have been working to make the actual transcript of this statement available online. Kelly refused.
Earlier this month, a judge in the District Court of Columbia recommended that prosecutors use a similar restraining order in a separate case against two defendants.
The case against Nordian, Biggs, Rehl and Donohoe focuses on a full-scale investigation by the Ministry of Justice in connection with the January 6 uprising. More than a dozen Capitol defendants have been identified by Proud Boys leaders, members or colleagues, including at least 16 defendants charged with conspiracy.
Last Wednesday, a New York man pleaded guilty to burglary in the U.S. Capitol and other members of the Proud Boys. Matthew Greene is the first member of the Proud Boys to publicly plead guilty to conspiracy with other members to stop Congress from confirming the Electoral College vote. He agreed to cooperate with the authorities.
Some members of the extremist group have been charged with conspiracy to commit atrocities against the Capitol, including more than 20 people associated with anti-government Oath Keepers.
Nordean, of Auburn, Washington, was the president of the Proud Boys chapter and a member of the national executive council of the “Council of Elders.” Biggs, from Ormond Beach, Florida, is the self-proclaimed editor of Proud Boys. Rehl was the president of the Proud Boys chapter in Philadelphia. Donohoe, from Kernersville, North Carolina, also served as president of the local chapter, according to the lawsuit.
Lawyers for the four men declined to comment on Tuesday's decision.
On the morning of Jan. 6, members of the Proud Boys gathered at the Washington Monument and marched to the Capitol before President Donald Trump finished speaking to thousands of supporters near the White House.
Just before Congress convened a joint session to confirm the election results, the Proud Boys team followed a mob of barricades at the entrance of pedestrians on Capitol premises, the lawsuit said. A group of Proud Boys re-entered the Capitol building after the crowd smashed windows and forced open doors.
More than 700 people have been charged in connection with Capitol violence. At least 165 of them have pleaded guilty, mainly to criminal charges, punishable by imprisonment for up to six months.