Marathon Proud Boys sedition trial hits milestone as prosecution prepares to hand off to defense

From emptywheel, 4/2: Thanks to the generosity of emptywheel readers we have funded Brandi’s coverage for the rest of the trial. If you’d like to show your further appreciate for Brandi’s great work, here’s her PayPal tip jar.

The winding road to a verdict in the Proud Boys seditious conspiracy trial has been rocky but after 39 grueling days featuring bitter objections, delays, and a steady stream of motions for mistrial by the defense, a crucial milestone in the historic case was finally reached after prosecutors called their last witness last week. 

Starting Monday, the defense is expected to take the reins and it will be left to them to attempt an unraveling of weeks of evidence and testimony from nearly two dozen government witnesses including former Proud Boy, Jeremy Bertino, who pleaded guilty to seditious conspiracy already and had intimate ties to the ringleader of the neofascist network now on trial, Henry “Enrique” Tarrio. 

Soon, it is expected that Tarrio will take the stand and offer his take on the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. His co-defendant, the one-time Infowars contributor Joseph Biggs—who seemingly never met a microphone he didn’t want to get in front of—is also expected to testify. Whether their alleged seditious cohorts Ethan Nordean, Zachary Rehl, and Dominic Pezzola will risk joining them, is unclear for now. 

In a trial that has been anything but a one-two punch for the Justice Department, it will be the next (estimated) two to three weeks of proceedings that could ultimately make or break the historic case for prosecutors. 

When the Proud Boys trial opened on January 12,  assistant U.S. Attorney Jason McCullough presented the thrust of the government’s argument to jurors. On its face, the premise was simple enough: Tarrio, Biggs, Nordean, Rehl, and Pezzola coordinated unflinchingly to stop the certification of the 2020 election by sheer force. 

Motivated by Donald Trump’s lie of a “stolen” election and fueled by the fear of a societal collapse triggered by any number of perceived boogeymen (namely, leftists, antifa, communists, and Joe Biden to name a few), McCullough argued the defendants planned to stop the certification by recruiting scores of people—some Proud Boys, some not—to aid them in their coming revolution so when the time for Congress to certify the results of the election finally arrived on Jan. 6, they were ready to strike. 

Witting and unwitting midwives of their revolt alike were the “tools” that Proud Boys needed to help them physically breach police lines, push past barriers, and get inside the Capitol, the prosecution has argued. Some of those “tools” of the conspiracy were members of the organization and others, as government witness and former Proud Boy Jeremy Bertino testified, were “normies” or just anyone who supported Trump and showed up at the Capitol willing to let loose.

From Tarrio, who allegedly oversaw the storming of the U.S. Capitol from afar while cheering it on in private and public alike; to Biggs, Nordean, and Rehl, who whipped people into a frenzy as they stalked to, around, and in the Capitol; and to Pezzola, who prosecutors say smashed apart a window that ultimately allowed a stream of rioters to flow inside the building; the government alleges each defendant played their specific role in leading or executing the greater attempt to upend democracy. 

The Proud Boys as an organization is not on trial and the government has been adamant in defending this point in the last ten weeks of proceedings, always leaving a wide berth for the First Amendment to protect the group’s virulent expression of its “western chauvinist” me-first, America-first, men-first, “fuck-your-feelings” philosophy.

Much energy has been expended by the defense on claims that Tarrio and his co-defendants only stand trial because they are the convenient “scapegoats” of a politically corrupt judicial system that has found them an all-too-easy target when holding the main culprit of Jan. 6 to account, former president Donald Trump, is too challenging.

A week after the second anniversary of the Capitol attack, Tarrio’s attorney Sabino Jauregui introduced himself to the jury for the first time with a concession and then a question: “Jan. 6 was horrible, we agree. But was Enrique responsible?” he said.

The defendants are not on trial for their internal communications, unsavory or steeped in racist misogyny they may be. Nor are they facing charges for the overheated and often paranoid nature of their engagements leading up to and on Jan. 6. And indeed, Donald Trump is not on trial in this case though at one point defense attorney Norm Pattis, for Biggs, did launch a stalled attempt to subpoena Trump for testimony. 

Responsibility. Time and place. Motive. Intent. These have been the prosecution’s focus for its case in chief and through the testimony of Capitol police officers, FBI agents, forensic analysts, and two former Proud Boys themselves. it has been a sweeping case for the government to lay out amid a battery of objections from its multi-defendant opponent. The defense has often spent time twisting itself into knots litigating and re-litigating the admissibility of certain pieces of evidence with little fruit to bear. The central theme to the objections, regardless of the defense attorney, is that the government’s case is overblown and unfounded. For others, like Pezzola’s attorney Roger Roots, or Tarrio’s attorneys, Sabino Jauregui and Nayib Hassan, there have been more regular winks, nods, or at times, outright assertions, during questioning that the FBI has cooked up a sort of deep-state plot against innocent if now rowdy protesters like the Proud Boys. 

Drawn-out fights over evidence have often prompted trial days to begin with jurors forced to enter or reenter the courtroom late or after waiting for a long period of time. 

One recent snarl midday was triggered by what had surfaced in a Proud Boys elder chat known as “Skull and Bones.” It showed chat members referencing Nazi propaganda or users with handles featuring Nazi-affiliated phrasing. Tarrio’s attorney jumped on a motion for mistrial when a text chain appeared to show a “tool” of the conspiracy “Chris Cannon PB” sharing that Nazi propaganda video with Tarrio on Jan. 6. It featured World War II footage of Adolph Hitler saluting victorious Nazi soldiers, among other images from the period. Though jurors saw the video and the surrounding conversation, the defense managed to convince presiding U.S. District Judge Tim Kelly to strike it from the record and instruct jurors to ignore it. 

Nonetheless, the jury saw shades of the world Tarrio operated in and the people he engaged with. That message was sent to Tarrio after the first breach on Jan. 6 and after he had already sent out the message: “make no mistake…we did this.” 

In that same private elders chat, Cannon asked Tarrio: “Are we a militia yet?”

“Yup,” Tarrio replied in a voice note.

Where early weeks of the trial were aimed at establishing the Proud Boys patterns of behavior that trended towards violence at political rallies before the 6th or tracking things like the group’s internal rancor as Trump’s bid to stay in power failed in the courts, more recently, it has been the prosecution’s “tools” theory that has dominated the jury’s attention. 

One of those many alleged “tools” utilized by the Proud Boys on Jan. 6 was former police officer and Proud Boy Nathaniel Tuck of Florida. Tuck appeared in a video after the breach, taking what seems to be a celebratory group photo outside of the Capitol. He appears with defendants Biggs and Nordean and other Proud Boys who marched from the Washington Monument that morning to the Capitol that afternoon, per a previous discussion had among members of the Proud Boys Ministry of Self Defense. 

Tuck makes what appears to be a Nazi “heil” gesture in the footage

The prosecution, as it turned out, didn’t focus on that gesture, letting the images speak for themselves. Instead, the jury’s attention was brought to Tuck’s greater alleged conduct and his association with the defendants on trial as one of many “tools.” 

The defense has rejected this legal theory vehemently, arguing, in short, that it is a roundabout way of achieving a conviction when evidence of a hard and fast plan to stop the certification is too attenuated. But as other sedition trials of Jan. 6 have shown, like the first Oath Keepers case with that ringleader Elmer Stewart Rhodes, the evidence of an explicit plan is not necessarily needed for a jury to convict on seditious conspiracy. 

The government’s argument that Proud Boys incited the mob to join their revolt may be sufficient. On Monday, when witness Travis Nugent is expected to testify for the defense, he is largely expected to tell the jury that Proud Boys had no plan at all. 

Persuasive evidence of a concrete plan or not, the prosecution has continually pointed to the disruptive element that Proud Boys brought to each site they marched through on Jan. 6. Police testified on at least two occasions in the last several weeks that before Proud Boys showed up, people were calm. It was the Proud Boys who got edgy. It was the Proud Boys who were ready for a fight and had been for months, the government contends. 

To that end, when Tarrio and “Chris Cannon PB” were texting about the deteriorating scene at the Capitol in the Proud Boys elder chat and Tarrio appeared to take credit for it, prosecutors showed jurors simultaneous surveillance video footage that shows defendant Joe Biggs, with  “tools” like Nate Tuck or others like Arthur Jackman and Eddie George. Prosecutors also presented footage of Biggs reaching the Senate chamber with some of these same men in tow. Jurors saw evidence of how Biggs was part of a breach on both the east and west sides of the Capitol, and how he entered the building twice that day. Other evidence, like call logs extracted from the defendants’ phones, showed Tarrio’s phone connecting to Biggs for just under a minute moments before the national ringleader posted “1776” on Parler. It was also around this time that some of the worst violence of the day by rioters against police would explode. 

As for Ethan Nordean, the government relied on extensive frame-by-frame footage from the very front lines of the mob where Nordean so often appeared with Biggs. Nordean was also seen often striking a defiant posture toward police that morning. Before noon, as he marched toward the Capitol he used a bullhorn and told anyone within earshot how police had “just took our boy in” and that police “gotta prove your shit to us now” or the people would “do your goddamn job for you.”

“Our boy” was Tarrio. Tarrio had been arrested two days before for the burning of a Black Lives Matter banner at a historic church in the district in December. 

Nordean’s rantings whipped people up, FBI agent Nicole Miller explained during testimony. Jeremy Bertino had said too that the “normies” looked at Proud Boys like “superheroes” and would follow wherever they went if they led the way. 

By the time Nordean, Biggs, and Rehl got to the Capitol on Jan. 6, Nordean had already told those gathered around him “We represent 1776” and urged people to support and defend the Constitution against enemies foreign and domestic. 

“Let us remind those who have forgotten what that means,” Nordean said. 

On the way to the Capitol, Nordean at one point brought the marching group to a halt and was overheard in footage saying they needed to wait so they could “link up with Alex Jones.” Roughly 15 minutes later and moments before reaching the Capital, Nordean was overheard in another recording saying, “we have a plan. They can adjust.” 

Prosecutors used video from the initial breaches to show Nordean and Biggs standing along metal inaugural fencing in a thick crowd. Both men were touching the fencing, at the very least, in the moments before the fencing was rocked back and forth and ripped up from its embedded posts in the concrete.

Other surveillance footage played for jurors has depicted defendant Zachary Rehl, a Proud Boy chapter president, entering through the same door Biggs had come in at one point. At an earlier point, when he is outside, he is in proximity to Dominic Pezzola and it was around this time that Pezzola was, prosecutors allege, forcefully stealing a police riot shield away from a clearly outnumbered officer. 

Pezzola would use that shield to smash open a window to the senate wing hallway. CCTV footage shows Pezzola later standing on the other side of that window, appearing to look through it for several moments while using what prosecutors and one FBI agent said appeared to be a radio. Pezzola’s defense attorney described his client repeatedly as a “lost puppy dog.” An FBI case agent testified that Pezzola looked like he was searching for someone or something before taking off toward the Capitol crypt. The same agent testified that Rehl would eventually go to the crypt too followed by “tools” of the conspiracy like Proud Boy Isaiah Giddings and others. The same agent said it was Rehl’s voice she was able to identify saying “fuck it, storm the Capitol” in a video from earlier that morning filmed at the Peace Circle just moments before a crowd surged past police barricades there. 

Many of the alleged “tools” tapped by the Proud Boys are awaiting trials all their own. Tuck, for example, has pleaded not guilty to a number of charges including obstruction. A motion hearing for Tuck and several alleged “tools” including Arthur Jackman, Paul Rae, Edward George, and Tuck’s own father, fellow Florida police officer, Kevin Tuck was continued from February to May 5. 

The Proud Boys have, by and large, defended themselves as a fraternity-style drinking club with unserious political aims or interests. They have worked to paint themselves as rough-and-tumble “patriots” akin to the Hells Angels who seek out brotherhood and camaraderie where they can mutually defend America ideologically and peacefully from an increasingly hostile woke population. 

But when the insurrection at the Capitol was over, the prosecution argued text messages showed the group’s real intent. Nordean, for one, was livid with Trump after he released a statement a week after the insurrection saying there was “never a justification for violence.” Where once Proud Boys had been jubilant, Nordean was now in the elders chat with Tarrio, expressing his fury. 

“Fucking disgusting, I’m so pissed,” Nordean wrote in one message.

“What a load of shit that whole thing has been. All Trump did was get us to reveal ourselves to the enemy. Basically butt naked and unarmed against this new regime…. Fuck Trump… Fuck that cocksucker,” he added. 

The defendants may likely present a case to the jury in the days ahead that largely relies on varied claims of victimization of one kind or another by Donald Trump, or assertions that the Proud Boys were good old-fashioned protesters made unwilling pawns of the “deep state” and its legion of spooks. 

73 replies
    • bmaz says:

      Join Harpie in appreciating Brandi’s work, and glad she is back at it.

      But does the St. Bernard (truly lovely dogs!) have a cask around its neck??

    • Brandi says:

      Thank you for the love, harpie! And I sort of love the detail about Block’s dog being a St. Bernard too!

    • Savage Librarian says:

      Yes, thanks for the remarkable coverage, Brandi. This is one of my favorite paragraphs:

      “The Proud Boys as an organization is not on trial and the government has been adamant in defending this point in the last ten weeks of proceedings, always leaving a wide berth for the First Amendment to protect the group’s virulent expression of its “western chauvinist” me-first, America-first, men-first, “fuck-your-feelings” philosophy.”

      • Vinniegambone says:

        My feelings ? What about that poor St Bernard’s feelings ? Really, i have to stay ? One year is like 17 with this Wacko.

  1. harpie says:

    9:29 AM · Mar 20, 2023

    [AUSA] McCullough says defense attys for Henry Tarrio have not provided the govt with its anticipated witness list for this week — despite an order from the judge directing parties to do this.

    Kelly says he was open to parties going out of order if they can convince him to deviate from expected order…“but my openness to that declines when I hear that parties who want to jump the line haven’t complied with the order to let the govt know what’s happening this week.”

  2. harpie says:

    9:35 AM The government rests.

    PATTIS for BIGGS begins his reserved opening statement.
    Compares J6 to “the tornado what whisked Dorothy off her farm in Kansas”

    • harpie says:

      I thought PATTIS was NOT supposed to talk about the evidence that’s already been preferred [correct word?] by the government?!?

      • bmaz says:

        Proffered. And, no, he is not, only an overview of where his case will go, same as if doing an open before any evidence at all was adduced.

        • harpie says:

          So, would this qualify? According to Parloff at 9:46 AM:
          [Prosecution did not object, as far as I can tell.]

          asking you not to mistake correlation with causation. … you’ve been shown coat of many colors stitched together out of … text messages and the testimony of liars … you should not be seduced in this manner.

          there is no mechanism here other than insinuation of the most dangerous kind. protected speech have been transformed into evidence of a crime. patriots have been transformed … into traitors. … this trial is a tragedy as profound as the events of J6.

          And now I have to unfortunately do some errands.
          [angry face emoji here]

          • bmaz says:

            “You’ve been shown” is improper, better would have been “you’ll be asked to consider”. But that is probably too minor to bother objecting to. Never object in an opening or closing unless it is truly important.

            • Peterr says:

              On more than one occasion, I wanted to object during an opening or closing — but they don’t let jurors object at all.

              Until, of course, the judge sends us off and tells us “don’t come back until you’ve reached a decision.” At that point, all the objections we jurors have been sitting on from the beginning of the trial come flying out.

    • harpie says:

      9:53 AM:

      The evidence will show in 2016 an improbable president took office. A nation divided went into a rhetorical war. People engaged and people were enraged… our elections are always spirited and impassioned and ppl argue over future to come…

      I’m not telling you something you don’t know, I’m telling you something as we gear up for 2024, Pattis says.

      Enter Joe Biggs. He was in the military and wanted to make a difference. He was part of an elite unit, spent 3.5 years in Iraq, Afghanistan, led convoy units…

      Marcy, earlier:
      8:07 AM · Mar 20, 2023

      Joe Biggs, on trial for sedition as we speak, served in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He then allegedly used leadership skills he learned in the Army when attacking the Capitol.

      • harpie says:

        I think this is a big discussion that we need to have…along with the fact that military bases are inundated with, and inside the Fox “News” bubble.

        • earthworm says:

          i have a certain form of foresight and have been called cassandra all my life. this is one of the aspects of Geo W Bush & Co’s invading Iraq that so made me so distraught at the time.
          my unwanted gift of foresight predicted exactly what we now see. there was a heavy emphasis on counter-insurgency. bush’s DoD never used the draft but recruited individuals that barely conformed to physical and intelligence standards of the regular draft.
          (any similarity to russian federation “recruits” to Ukraine?)
          the command structure was laced with right wing, christian Dominionist, psychopathic, sadists, unfit to deal with another culture, religion, or occupied nation under the best of circumstances, of which the Iraq invasion was NOT.
          i kept saying “these troops are being trained on our taxes to come home AND TREAT US EXACTLY LIKE IRAQIS!”

  3. Molly Pitcher says:

    MSNBC just reported that 4 Oath Keepers were found guilty of Conspiring to Obstruct an Official Proceeding.

  4. GSSH-FullyReduced says:

    Thanks Brandi for this very helpful explanation about the PB trial. Your journalistic skills are great and much appreciated.

    Also, Harpie is so right about the damage FoxN is doing on military bases. I have fam that were brainwashed by watching too much FoxN, starting in the early 2000s. Never thought a USMarine who protected our country in WW2 would be influenced by it but when disinformation meets confirmation bias, bad things are likely to happen. Unfortunately, I’m not sure anything can be done about it.

  5. fubar jack says:

    The last quote, basically complaining that tfg was letting them twist in the wind gives me some hope. If this view is shared by some then perhaps this is the beginning of the end for tfg being the avatar for their movement…. Won’t stop them from getting behind another fascist .

  6. Rugger_9 says:

    I see Mr. Costello emerged from talking to the Bragg grand jury and claimed a bunch of stuff, knowing full well that until charges are laid the GJ proceedings are secret and he can misrepresent everything since he’s not in the room.

    Michael Cohen will perform a rebuttal on MSNBC shortly, but unless anyone has actual transcripts (and they won’t, really) it’s all Kabuki while we wait for the next round of the Tournament (sorry about UA and ASU, bmaz).

      • Rugger_9 says:

        Cohen’s statement is interesting in itself, because every time I’ve engaged a lawyer there is a contract drawn up covering scope of work, etc. to get anything started. I think Cohen is savvy enough to know where the shining line is for legal representation, which is one more reason I doubt Costello’s claims. No one but the grand jury and the DAs office knows for certain what Costello did or said in his visit.

        Perhaps the idea here is that Costello is conflating working for TrumpOrg as working for Cohen. We also don’t know the actual content of the ‘pages of evidence’ or if Costello even submitted anything at all. Remember the binders full of blank paper when Individual-1 was trying to claim voter fraud (IIRC)? The conflation tactic is quite routine for Individual-1 and the rest of the RWNM.

        As noted by Mr. Snyder, the risk in talking is that you’ll say something important or damaging without realizing it. All of us who have had our shins kicked under the table by our beloveds know this.

        • theartistvvv says:

          I can say that I had my shins kicked under the table by my lawyer in a … regulatory proceeding. And I’m proud of it; he only wanted me, while testifying as a witness, to stop out-lawyering the … regulator.

          He was correct.

          And yes, a written contract is best practice but, and that is a frequent professional liability insurance issue, an attorney-client relationship does not require same. That said, AFAIK, *the client* has to claim such a relationship in any disputed circumstances, or it must be claimed on their behalf and to their benefit. IOW, Costello can’t claim that relationship without a written contract to his own benefit – and any privilege, of course, belongs to the client who can waive same.

          Costello, then, seems to me to be at best contradicting himself (flat out lying) or exhibiting true ethical ignorance when he claims to have been Cohen’s lawyer, and then goes on to claim to have been testifying about things presumably subject to such privilege.

          A tfg-adjacent lawyer exhibiting ethical ignorance – who woulda guessed …

            • theartistvvv says:

              My lawyer (*RIP*, George) made an excellent living out of representing lawyers (including in Whitewater), and oh, the stories.

              Interestingly enough, even tho’ he was Protestant, he also represented Catholic priests with serious legal issues, and *pro bono* at that.

  7. harpie says:

    8:55 AM Brandi:

    Once Graves was off the stand, the second defense witness, Proud Boy Travis Nugent of Washington state, began his testimony. Nugent was with defendant Ethan Nordean outside of the Capitol on Jan. 6 and while I am going to deep dive into his direct testimony and cross later

    Suffice it to say: While Nugent was a defense witness, his testimony once under cross-examination seemed anything but beneficial for the Proud Boys.

    Prosecutor Conor Mulroe was deft with his questions and poked huge holes in the crux of the Proud Boys defense thus far.

    8:54 AM Parloff:

    Finally, at the end of cross, DOJ atty Mulroe elicited that Nugent had great concern for his physical safety from other PBs who mistakenly believed that… he was a govt informant. That may disturb the jury, especially since defense lawyers have been trying to expose govt informants throughout the case. I get why they have to learn informants’ names to research their roles & to do their jobs, but from the jury’s perspective it may look like they’re just helping their clients seek revenge. /14

  8. harpie says:

    PUP steals the show! [quite young] [“Born on Election Day” – Bruce, maybe]
    9:35 AM Brandi:

    Block, who is in a wheelchair, has his service dog with him today as he testifies. From my vantage point in the media room, I can see this beautiful St. Bernard’s big fluffy head. Block tells def atty Nick Smith the pup was born on Nov. 3, 2020 – Election Day.

    9:36 AM Parloff:

    Block is now in the regular witness chair (he was able to climb out of the wheelchair) and has the dog with him. The dog appears to be a beautiful St Bernard whose head is currently visible above the witness’s desk, tho Block’s trying to get her to lie down. … /22

  9. harpie says:

    I wonder if we’ll find out what BLOCK meant by saying:
    BLOCK: I better get out of here; you guys are talking stuff I don’t want to hear.

    [Transcript of VIDEO, with location map]
    [12:23 PM] PERSON to NORDEAN: They said he’s [TRUMP] gonna march, they’re gonna want to keep him close to the beast.

    BLOCK: I better get out of here; you guys are talking stuff I don’t want to hear. [0:26] […]

    SMITH [NORDEAN] had asked Agent MILLER:

    S: no place where defendants tell Block, hey, you shouldn’t be filming our march, right?
    [correct] /76

    • harpie says:

      10:00 AM Brandi:

      Smith [to BLOCK]: Any pt during march did Nordean say hey, you shouldn’t be livestreaming?
      Block: No sir

      10:02 AM Parloff:

      S [to BLOCK]: did nordean ever say, hey, you shouldn’t be live-streaming?


    • harpie says:

      10:18 AM Brandi:

      Now Smith brings up video from 12:23 p.m. on 1/6 where Block is heard saying, “I better get out of here you guys are talking stuff I don’t want to hear”
      Why did he says this?

      Block: I figured they were trying to figure where to go next….like i said, we’re afraid of antifa, well, we’re not afraid of antifa….

      Block continued on for a moment, but his testimony was a bit unclear after. Then Smith asks: Why would antifa know where you’re going?

      10:13 AM Parloff:

      […] [more video: 12:23pm. At the food trucks.
      block: i better get out of here, you guys are talking stuff i don’t want to hear.

      i just figured deciding where to go next … we’re afraid of antifa. … wouldn’t want antifa to know where we were going next. antifa watches [what i put on] YouTube. i have as many antifa subscribers as PB subscribers. they watch our stuff so they can learn about us.

  10. harpie says:

    10:13 AM Brandi:

    Smith: Do you believe antifa was a large presence on 1/6?
    Block: I do
    Block: Just a gut feeling
    Smith elicits that Block had long standing reasons to “fear antifa”

    10:11 AM Parloff:

    we ahve people scouting around so we can say, Antifa’s coming from the right, watch out.
    i had that gut feeling that antifa was around on J6.
    sincerely believed–worried about running into them. i’ve been attacked multiple times. been hit by chain by antifa. /43

  11. harpie says:

    This ALLEGED BELIEF that ANTIFA is there, and fear of ANTIFA is such a bunch of CRAP.

    Marcy on RHODES/OathKeepers “Antifa-foil”

    It adds a comment Stewart Rhodes made on November 9 laying out what I’ll call the “Antifa foil” — an affirmative plan, laid out months before the insurrection, to use the “threat” of Antifa as the excuse to come armed and a means to foment violence.

    • harpie says:

      10:50 AM Brandi:

      The crowd is large, Biggsin middle clinging to a megaphone. This is just after the “fuck antifa” chat. Nordean is near to him. The camera pans to another man holding megaphone. He’s in all black, with some white logos visible on hat and shirt. Is he a PB?

      B: Couldnt tell you

      Smith asks Block if he sees that person point to Capitol.
      B: yes i do
      what direction is he pointing in?
      B: he’s pointing at the capitol looking like he’s trying to get people to run.
      Nordean is visible in clip, he’s drinking from a can, standing behind the other guy w/megaphone

      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        This is all, inevitably, confusing. I’m wondering if a certain rightwing paranoia might make a person so itchy about “antifa” that reporters they don’t recognize get chalked up to antifa or else suspected as “informants” planted by those “deep state” agencies–you know, the same ones that were so disorganized and bad at internal communication that they didn’t realize this was going to happen.

        • theartistvvv says:

          I seem to recall reading that some where wearing all black in an attempt to disguise themselves, and even to be perceived as “antifa”?

          I’m not sure if that was in relationship to J6 or Portland or …

        • harpie says:

          8:10 AM · Mar 22, 2023

          During Block’s testimony, atty Nick Smith (Nordean) focused on a loud non-PB with a megaphone at the Peace Circle who was also inciting the crowd just before Breach #1. Block said that the rioter we now know to be Ryan Samsel, the one who … /3

          … first started toppling the barricade at the Peace Circle, had tapped that non-PB on the head just before striding up to the police line. Implication is that this non-PB with megaphone incited the breach, not def. Joe Biggs, who also had a megaphone. …/4

          We KNOW that PB’s were coordinating
          with OTHERS, including OATH KEEPERS and 3PERCENTERS.

          12/22/20 MEGGS messages LIGGETT: [pdf86/845] “He called us all to the Capitol and wants us to make it wild!!!”
          LIGGETT: “I will have a ton of men with me”
          MEGGS: “We have made Contact [sic] with PB [Proud Boys] and they always have a big group. Force multipier….I figure we could splinter off the main group of PB and come up behind them. Fucking crush them for good.”

        • harpie says:

          Also [this one’s better]:
          12/19/20 MEGGS phone call w/ TARRIO [more than 3 minutes] [J6Creport] [15:22:53 UTC] K. MEGGS on FB: (Facebook 1517304829)

          Well we are ready for the rioters, this week I organized an alliance between Oath Keepers, Florida 3%ers, Proud Boys. We have decided to work together and shut this shit down

  12. harpie says:

    10:53 AM Brandi:

    Block is chomping at the bit to point out another “issue” and Smith says, we’ll get to that

    The camera pans back, and there’s Biggs with his megaphone.

    10:53 AM Parloff:

    [now splaying the video again. Whose House, Our House.]
    i would say chant coming from in front of camera.
    Now Biggs is chanting.
    Block: [without any question being posed] now here’s another issue we have with this–
    Smith: wait. /68

  13. Greg Hunter says:

    Gore should have been President, but once GW Bush and Cheney were in office and 911 occurred they played a traumatized nation into war with blowback that is tearing this country apart. The so-called people of “expertise” are still justifying their position while those with brains and no megaphone could see what the earthworm gets partially correct.

    The ending of the draft ensured that many voices that would have opposed these wars made no effort, but Cheney was not stupid when analyzing our military capabilities. It is myopia to look at our armed forces and believe no thought was put into where people were placed in the military. The best and brightest were put on the front lines with plenty of technological and logistical support. Those formerly used as cannon fodder in previous American engagements were put in the rear with the gear. Study the Chris Kyle contingent and then look at the people captured with Jessica Lynch to see what I am saying. Earthworm gets the military command structure correctly, see the christian nationalist Air Force Academy for confirmation.

    An entire generation of the people joining the military were able to have a stable support system while they had children then went on too double dip inside the military and intelligence complexes. These people swore an oath to a Constitution they don’t understand while learning tactics to disrupt societies that are trying to just live.

    Sebastian Junger wrote a piece in Vanity Fair arguing that Afghanistan is war we should have won, blaming Obama’s decisions for the loss. I took issue with that analysis saying that we lost that war from day one by not ending the Drug War on naturally occurring plants. He agreed with my email but has not written word one for Vanity Fair since.

    While service people in Afghanistan were flaming poppy fields the Sacklers and American doctors were hooking people on Oxycontin and legalized cocaine called Adderal.

    Bring back the draft and end the war on naturally occurring plants would be a good start, but I am not an “expert” with a gig at the Atlantic or the NY Times so what could I possibly know?

    • Rugger_9 says:

      As a veteran, I take exception to some of your sweeping generalizations. The draft may impose some veneer of equality in service, but dodging it legally by ‘champagne units’ (Shrub) or by paying a substitute (all the way back the first draft by the CSA) or leaving because you can afford it has been around from the beginning. Perhaps it’s more equal but nowhere close to full equality.

      What the draft does ensure is a significant risk of very unmotivated troops that may not support their buddies when the ordure hits the rotating air mover. The military eventually realized that people who don’t want to be there perform poorly. As a modern example, see how well the Russians are doing in Ukraine with their conscripts, who are treated as expendables (or the Iranian Basidji used for minesweeping) because they can always draft some more. Also, the draft registration is still in place, so if we need to swell the ranks, the mechanism and information is there to do it.

      The other thing to remember about Vietnam in particular is there has to be a clear goal and clear plan to succeed before launching anything. Both of these prerequisites were lacking after Shrub and Dick Cheney let OBL loose after Tora Bora because the GOP needed a bogeyman.

  14. harpie says:

    12:06 PM Parloff:

    Block: how did that van get there? the purpose of that van was to come and attack us. he was there to do something. you’re making it look like we did something to those people. i saw the man pull into there with can of mace. what are we supposed to do? /95

    12:11 PM Brandi:

    Block: I was told the van had drove up and tried to hit them..
    Kenerson plays the video and Block can’t stop testifying unprompted. “Youre making it look like we’re doing something to these people… ”
    “People had bear spray and weapons…”
    “What are we supposed to do?”

    • harpie says:


      “You don’t start fights?,” Kenerson says, looking straight at Block on stand.
      “We finished it,” Block says.

      objection, counsel testifying. sustained.

      you said tarrio, biggs nordean were in charge at Portland OR rallies?

      • harpie says:

        UPDATE from Brandi’s new post:

        Update: Correction – an earlier version of this story stated
        the van video from Oregon was from years prior to Jan. 6.
        It was from August 2021.

    • harpie says:

      The series of comments above is NOT ABOUT 1/6/21.
      It’s not clear to me right now when this happened.

      • harpie says:

        Brandi with the answer:

        […] Ever the self-proclaimed adherents of self-defense, Block told jurors that Proud Boys didn’t start fights, they finished them.

        Testing that claim, Kenerson brought Block’s attention to years-old video footage from Portland, Oregon. A man with Proud Boy garb approaches a van in a parking lot. There are several men surrounding the vehicle before suddenly, a Proud Boy starts unloading a stream of chemical spray with some sort of paintball-gun-looking apparatus into the van, overwhelming the driver and forcing the person to drive off road.

        As the video played, Block testified unprompted. Again. […]

        RE: “Again.”, from Brandi’s Twitter thread today [LOL]:

        Not expecting dog to testify
        but expecting to hear much from Block.

        • harpie says:

          CORRECTION, from Brandi’s new post:

          Update: Correction – an earlier version of this story stated
          the van video from Oregon was from years prior to Jan. 6.
          It was from August 2021.

  15. harpie says:

    12:19 PM Brandi:

    Kenerson: [After 12/12/20 rally] You also concocted a plan to lure antifa somewhere and PBs would jump out and get them?
    Block: I had mentioned that but nobody took onto it,

    Nobody took onto it, Kenerson repeats.
    No, Block says.

    12:20 PM Parloff:

    K: you concocted a plan where you’d lure Antifa and PBs could ambush them?
    i mentioned that but nobody took onto it.
    Now showing Telegram message: /102

    • harpie says:

      12:21 PM Brandi:

      Now Kenerson shows a msg from 12/13/2020 at 11:03 a.m.
      That your msg?
      Sounds like something I would say, Block testifies.
      The text is now admitted into evidence for jurors to see.
      The texts are now coming in for the jury.
      On Dec. 13: so guys, i still think we should use me on the 20th, I’m an easy target and on their watch list —
      Ken: you meant antifa?
      Block: yes, as I was flying over and i was 2nd person on antifa list in dc
      12:28 PM

      12:21 PM Parloff:

      12/13/20: “i say we let me be the sacrifical lamb next time. i’ll sneak in. get their attention on me. then every motherfucker rush in. don’t fuck with my brothers like that.”
      K: and you said no one took you up on it? but you were pushing that plan weren’t you?
      yes, i was mad/103

      some more messages
      “i still think we should use me on the 20th. i’m an easy target and i’m on their watch list. scout out a location with hiding spots. tehy follow y livestreams, so i’ll go live and say, oh shit, they left me and my scooter. … /104

      • harpie says:

        12:28 PM Brandi:

        Block suggests there may be msgs in this chain that aren’t represented here.
        Opening the door wide open for Kenerson to ask whether there other messages in chain Block knows about?
        B: no, i don’t know, i mean you could open my phone right now, there’d be 10k msgs in Telegram

        And that ends the trial day today. The jury is excused.
        Block did not complete his testimony today so he must return tomorrow.

        12:28 PM Parloff:

        Block: you’ve never said anything in a rage of anger and then 10 min later [forgotten all about it]?

        Judge Kelly now excusing the jury and witness till 9am tomorrow. Attys stay. [Jurors check out the dog as they walk past witness stand.] /106

  16. Rugger_9 says:

    Semi-OT, I’d make a couple of observations about the RWNM and the GOP. One is how hard they’re trying to howl that it’s unfair that Individual-1 might get indicted when HRC wasn’t jailed at all (IIRC that was Speaker McCarthy) but let’s remember it wasn’t for lack of trying by the RWNM with the ‘Lock Her Up’ chants. In their echo chamber, the b___h has it coming. That HRC hasn’t done anything wrong let alone illegal is irrelevant.

    The other thing is that Individual-1’s incitement to violence is already paying off, since a hearing for AG James’ financial fraud case was temporarily delayed due to a bomb threat and we have who-dat radio hosts calling for executions of Obama, etc. (which ought to get the USSS interested if they weren’t so in the bag for TFG). Expect more of this crap until the feebs arrest them with the same speed that they would arrest a BLM protestor.

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