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US Is Mixing Politics With Justice Over Jan. 6 Charges, Proud Boys Lawyers Say

·2 min read

(Bloomberg) -- Lawyers for members of the right-wing Proud Boys accused the US of bringing seditious-conspiracy charges against their clients to coincide with televised congressional hearings on the Capitol riot that started Thursday night.

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“Mixing politics and criminal justice is dangerous,” said a lawyer for Ethan Nordean, a regional Proud Boys leader from Washington state, during a court hearing Thursday. “There is no doubt what is happening is dangerous and it is un-American.”

Federal prosecutors on Monday announced more charges against five members of the group, adding seditious conspiracy for actions they allegedly took in advance of the January 2021 storming of the US Capitol. The charge is among the most serious brought in the government’s massive case over the effort to thwart Joe Biden’s election as president and keep Donald Trump in power.

Read More: Thousands Attacked the Capitol. Who Has Answered for It?

Three of the group’s members, including former leader Enrique Tarrio, pleaded not guilty at Thursday’s court hearing. In a Wednesday filing, Tarrio’s lawyer accused the government of timing the charges with the House committee’s hearings and said the latest indictment added no “new material facts.”

The Proud Boys’ role in the Jan. 6 riot was featured in Thursday night’s congressional hearing, with footage of a meeting between Tarrio and Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes and of the Proud Boys storming the Capitol.

Read More: Jan. 6 Panel Weaves Tale of Lying Trump, Raging Mob, Cop’s Valor

Assistant US Attorney Jason McCullough denied the claims at the court hearing, rejecting “the premise there is any coordination” between prosecutors and the House panel “around timing to indict.”

The case is US v. Nordean, 21-cr-00175, US District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).

(Adds description of Proud Boys’ role in congressional hearing in fifth paragraph.)

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