Proud Boys leader Tarrio pleads not guilty to charges related to Capitol riot

Enrique Tarrio, the former top leader of the right-wing group the Proud Boys, pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to criminal charges accusing him of conspiring to prevent Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory before the attack of last year against the US Capitol.

Tarrio’s attorney entered a plea of ​​not guilty on his behalf during a virtual hearing in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The judge also announced a postponement of the start of the trial scheduled for May 18.

Tarrio, 38, is one of the most prominent of more than 775 people criminally charged for their role in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol by supporters of then-President Donald Trump on the day Congress met to certify Biden’s victory. Tarrio and five other members of the Proud Boys are charged with conspiring to block certification.

Tarrio himself was not present at the time of the attack, unlike his co-defendants. Prosecutors said Tarrio still maintains an active leadership role behind the scenes.

He was arrested on March 8 and remains in jail, after a Florida federal magistrate ruled he posed a danger to the community if released.

Members of various right-wing organizations were arrested in connection with the attack on the Capitol, including the Oath Keepers militia and its leader Stewart Rhodes.

During Tuesday’s hearing, U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly also said he would grant a government request to postpone the trial date and added that he would release a written decision later in the day.

House committee confronts reluctant witnesses

Tarrio was added last month as a co-defendant in the case, and prosecutors have indicated there is still a chance they could file additional charges or indict more defendants.

With a busy trial schedule ahead for the court, both due to the number of cases and due to delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Kelly said he would refrain from choosing a new date. until the lawyers responsible for the case can confer.

He said he would schedule another hearing on April 21 to hopefully finalize a new trial date.

In addition to the criminal cases, a House Democratic-led select committee is investigating “the facts, circumstances, and causes” related to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack.

On Tuesday, Ivanka Trump was scheduled to appear before the committee, according to three sources who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. The former president’s daughter was among his relatives during the Capitol uprising, and her committee appearance would follow that of her husband, Jared Kushner, last week.

The committee decided on Monday to advance contempt proceedings with Trump administration figures Peter Navarro and Dan Scavino, something the panel had previously undertaken with uncooperative former chief of staff Mark Meadows. Trump ally Steve Bannon’s refusal to cooperate with the committee led to a federal indictment.

The committee has interviewed more than 800 people and is planning a series of public hearings in the spring. Republicans other than Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger have criticized the committee, and Democrats are working hard to complete their work before a November midterm election that could see them lose control of the chamber.