New federal charges were filed against two members of the far-right Proud Boys in connection to last month’s storming of the U.S. Capitol.
Ethan Nordean, also known as “Rufio Panman,” was arrested and charged Wednesday with obstructing an official proceeding, aiding and abetting, and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, among other charges.
Nicholas Ochs, the leader of the Hawaii chapter of the Proud Boys, also faces new charges in a grand jury indictment obtained Wednesday, including conspiracy to obstruct Congress, and stealing and destroying government property. He was previously arrested on lesser charges connected to the riot.
Messrs. Nordean and Ochs couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. Mr. Ochs hasn’t yet entered any plea to the charges.
Since the riot on Jan. 6, prosecutors have moved to arrest more than 150 participants of the pro-Trump mob on basic charges, including unlawfully entering a restricted building, and prosecutors said they planned to build more sophisticated cases through indictments in the ensuing weeks.
After earlier arrests on other counts, a trio of alleged members of another right-wing group, the Oath Keepers, for example, were then charged with conspiring to obstruct the electoral vote certification by coordinating in advance of the Jan. 6 events and working together to force their way into the Capitol.
They haven’t yet entered any pleas.
Two other members of the Proud Boys were also indicted last week on charges of conspiring to obstruct law-enforcement officers by removing the metal barricades Capitol Police officers had erected to control access to the grounds and ripping away an officer’s riot shield that was later used by one of them to smash a window. The men are scheduled to be arraigned next week.
The latest charges involving the far-right group follow a Wall Street Journal investigation showing that at many of the riot’s key moments, members of the Proud Boys, including Mr. Ochs and Mr. Nordean, were at the forefront.
A grand jury alleges that Mr. Ochs raised funds via the internet to finance his trip to Washington, D.C., along with another individual. Mr. Ochs publicized his plans to stop the certification of the presidential election and defaced the building’s Memorial Door by inscribing the words “MURDER THE MEDIA,” according to the indictment.
Mr. Nordean, of Washington state, is the self-described “Sergeant of Arms’’ of the Seattle Chapter of the Proud Boys. Prosecutors allege that Mr. Nordean was near the front of the crowd of rioters at the Capitol and that he later entered the building.
Prosecutors allege that Mr. Nordean was preparing for the Jan. 6 event in December when he asked on social media for donations for “protective gear” and “communications equipment.”
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Source: WSJ – US News