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Proud Boys Ignored Orders Given at Pre-Jan. 6 Meeting


One week earlier than scores of Proud Boys helped lead a pro-Trump mob in a violent assault on the Capitol final 12 months, Enrique Tarrio, the chairman of the group, and a few of his high lieutenants held a foul-mouthed video convention with a handpicked crew of members.

The assembly, on Dec. 30, 2020, marked the founding of a particular new chapter of the Proud Boys referred to as the Ministry of Self-Defense. The group of a number of dozen trusted members was meant, Mr. Tarrio advised his males, to carry a stage of order and professionalism to the group’s upcoming march in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021, that had, by his personal account, been lacking at earlier Proud Boys rallies within the metropolis.

Over practically two hours, Mr. Tarrio and his management group — lots of whom have since been charged with seditious conspiracy — gave the brand new recruits a sequence of directives: Adopt a defensive posture on Jan. 6, they have been advised. Keep the “normies” — or the conventional protesters — away from the Proud Boys’ marching ranks. And obey police traces.

“We’re never going to be the ones to cross the police barrier or cross something in order to get to somebody,” Mr. Tarrio mentioned.

There was one overriding drawback with the orders: None of them have been really adopted when the Proud Boys stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6.

Far from holding again, members of the far-right group performed aggressive roles in a number of breaches at the Capitol, shifting in coordination and infrequently taking the lead in eradicating police barricades, in keeping with a visual investigation by The New York Times of lots of of hours of video footage of the assault.

And regardless of what Mr. Tarrio mentioned about maintaining away from bizarre protesters, members of the group repeatedly instigated folks round them in a tactic that some Proud Boys later described in personal messages as “riling up the normies.”

While the video convention has been talked about in courtroom papers, it has not been extensively seen. A recording of it was seized from Mr. Tarrio’s cellphone by the F.B.I. this 12 months, and a duplicate was just lately obtained by The Times.

Lawyers for the Proud Boys say the recorded assembly is a key piece of exculpatory proof, contradicting claims by the federal government {that a} conspiracy to assault the Capitol was hatched a number of weeks earlier than Jan. 6.

In courtroom filings, prosecutors have claimed that the Proud Boys started to plan their assault as early as Dec. 19, 2020 — the day that President Donald J. Trump (*6*) and saying it might be “wild.” But the video convention reveals that, only one week earlier than the occasion, when Mr. Tarrio and different Proud Boys leaders gathered their group for a gathering, they spent most of their time discussing issues like staying away from alcohol and girls and taking measures to make sure their very own safety.

The recorded assembly makes no point out of any planning which may have occurred within the week immediately earlier than the Capitol assault. And whereas Mr. Tarrio suggests throughout the assembly that the complicated construction he created for the Ministry of Self-Defense was meant to be self-protective — not offensive — in nature, prosecutors have claimed that the group’s “command and control” design was instrumental in facilitating the Capitol assault.

In the assembly, Mr. Tarrio laid out how the group — whose members have been chosen due to their “throttle control,” as one other Proud Boys chief put it — had a three-person management group that sat above a bigger group of eight or so regional leaders. There was a “marketing” division too, Mr. Tarrio defined, that will craft and promote the Proud Boys’ “narrative” to the media. The group’s rank and file, he mentioned, would work in 10-man groups on Jan. 6 with medics and communications specialists.

Throughout the assembly, Mr. Tarrio and others used blatantly misogynistic, homophobic and antisemitic language, disparaging the Proud Boys’ feminine supporters and making references to the “J.Q.” — or the Jewish Question, a phrase that harks again to Nazi ideology. Mr. Tarrio additionally threatened individuals within the video convention with expulsion from the Ministry of Self-Defense in the event that they drank an excessive amount of at the Jan. 6 occasion, noting that too many Proud Boys have been sloppily intoxicated at earlier pro-Trump rallies.

As for the Capitol itself, it got here up solely sometimes.

At one level, as the ground was opened for questions, numerous Proud Boys requested Mr. Tarrio concerning the group’s objectives for Jan. 6, together with how a lot they’d give attention to Vice President Mike Pence’s certification of the election outcomes that day. Mr. Tarrio deflected the inquiries, saying that the small print of the Proud Boys’ mission could be mentioned in future conferences.

Nayib Hassan, Mr. Tarrio’s lawyer, declined to touch upon the video. Lawyers for Joseph Biggs and Zachary Rehl, two different Proud Boys leaders who have been on the decision and are going through sedition expenses, additionally declined to remark.

Mr. Rehl’s lawyer, Carmen Hernandez, first talked about the video convention in courtroom papers filed this month, saying that it “refutes the notion that the MOSD” — or the Ministry of Self-Defense — “was formed to plan a violent attack on the Capitol.”

“Nothing in that video, which lasted 1 hour and 38 minutes, supports that claim,” Ms. Hernandez wrote.

Instead, she famous, the video convention was held to debate how “to avoid the chaos and violence” that occurred on the night of Dec. 12, 2020, when some Proud Boys were stabbed in a confrontation with leftist activists that adopted a big pro-Trump rally in Washington throughout the day. Among these stabbed was Jeremy Bertino, a Proud Boys chief from North Carolina who helped to run the video convention.

The night Mr. Bertino was stabbed, the Proud Boys, led by Mr. Tarrio, additionally set upon a historic Black church in Washington, ripping down a Black Lives Matter flag that hung from its facade and burning it within the streets.

Mr. Tarrio was arrested for the banner attack — and for carrying two high-capacity rifle magazines — when he returned to Washington on Jan. 4, 2021, in preparation for the Jan. 6 rally. As a part of his launch situations, he was ordered to go away the town and was not there as his males took half within the assault on the Capitol 48 hours later.

While the Proud Boys and their legal professionals have claimed that the Ministry of Self-Defense was meant to make sure that members of the group “would behave properly and avoid violence” on Jan. 6, the federal government, in its personal courtroom filings, has identified a number of instances when members of the group used violent language in personal messages prematurely of the Capitol assault.

Three days earlier than Jan. 6, one member of the group posted a message in a ministry group chat saying, “Time to stack those bodies in front of Capitol Hill.”

Another member of the group then requested his compatriots within the personal chat, “What would they do if 1 million patriots stormed and took the capital building. Shoot into the crowd? I think not.”

The recording of the convention name emerged throughout a second of rigidity within the Proud Boys investigation.

On Wednesday, Judge Timothy J. Kelly, who’s overseeing the case, moved the trial from its initial date in August to December as each protection legal professionals and prosecutors complained that the case had been badly affected by a parallel inquiry of the Capitol assault being led by the House choose committee on Jan. 6.

Natalie Reneau contributed reporting.



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