Where Is The Proud Boys Verdict?

Friday has come and gone without a jury verdict in the Proud Boys case in front of Tim Kelly in DC District Court.

Couple of days ago, somebody asked me when I expected a verdict. That is fools’ play, but I said probably Friday because juries want to get on with their lives, and not come back, yet again, the next week.

Apparently I got that all wrong. Go figure.

So why did the PB jury blow past an obvious chance to be done? I do not know that either, but there is a fair chance it is not about ultimate guilt or innocence, but about multiple defendants and the complexity of the seditious conspiracy charge so many people (even here) have long clamored for.

Sometimes you get what you asked for, and that may be the case here. Counts, charges and jury instructions matter. I hope that is not the holdup here, but very much fear it could be. And that is what happens when you do not keep things narrow and strong.

We shall see.

71 replies
  1. Tomaz Lal says:

    The sheer number of charges against each of these 5 defendants makes a speedy verdict not only unlikely, but probably irresponsible. Months of testimony, hundreds of exhibits, hours and hours of video and fairly complex jury instructions on the contours of the law and how it applies to this case make a hasty verdict almost unthinkable. A responsible jury will proceed methodically and exhaustively through each charge for each defendant. As they should. Confidence level remains high that each of these defendants will be held to account for their egregious criminal conduct.

    • bmaz says:

      Irresponsible? Who are you to say what is, and what is not, responsible for a jury? I’ve got news for you, there are very long trials, even with multiple defendants, that come to verdict pretty quickly all the time. It is simply not unusual in the least. So the question, which is all I posited, is why here? It is not because they determined there was a missing page and wanted a stapler.

      Simple counts lead to clear verdicts. One of the counts here is unusual and complicated, as evidenced by the mixed verdict in the Oath Keepers analogous trial. It is more than fair to ask if that is afoot again. And, yes, it matters if the idea is to use this archaic law against public officials and their attorneys, like Trump, Meadows, Rudy, Eastman etc.

      • Tomaz Lal says:

        In what is one of the most important trials in our country’s history, having the jury take the time to dot all the I’s and cross all the T’s seems prudent. Full stop. I expect a mixed verdict as well but I think all 5 defendants will end up being found guilty of multiple counts.

        • bmaz says:

          “In what is one of the most important trials in our country’s history”. I’m sorry, exactly how old are you?

          • Tomaz Lal says:

            Why so needlessly aggressive? Why default to ad hominem attacks? Are you suggesting that a coordinated criminal disruption of our more than two centuries old tradition of a peaceful transfer of power is no biggie? January 6 is “a date which will live in infamy” if I can quote FDR. Minimizing the importance of this trial and its eventual verdicts plays into the hands of the insurrectionists and their apologists. That is dangerously wrongheaded in my view.
            To answer your question, and given the consistent immaturity in the tone of your responses, I suspect I’m your senior by decades at least, psychologically if not otherwise.
            Is it your intention to drive traffic away from this site? As a first time poster myself, I can attest that you’re doing a helluva job. Or is mindless sycophancy all you will tolerate in response to your posts? Sad.

            • bmaz says:

              Why be so obtuse three commenter interloper? Where did you come from? What is your purpose?

              Also, too, fuck your “ad hominem” allegation. Take that for “immaturity”.

              And why? We pay attention here! And, again, exactly how old are you and where do you come from?

              • smf88011 says:

                What trials do you think are more important than an attempt to overthrow a dutifully elected President? That is exactly what is going on here – a trial of the people that tried to overthrow a President that won the 2020 election.

            • Hollygolightly says:

              Agree with you, Tomas Lal. I appreciate that Bmaz has intimate knowledge of the law, but, he is always so dang unpleasant. It often feels boorish. I’m sure he’ll respond to me with some crummy, snide comments, too. We are all just trying to learn from each other. J6 was truly a black swan event in our nation’s story. Bringing all of the participants to some justice is imperative and we are all concerned about that. I am grateful that this jury appears to be deliberating carefully, as it should be.

              • bmaz says:

                For starters, your and Thomas’ entire premise is based on unmitigated lie; i.e. that I ever said or opined the case was not important. It is extremely important, which is why I would have it been done based on easier and more clear cut counts. Secondly, you have no idea in the world whether the jury is “deliberating carefully, as it should be”. You just gratuitously made that up and inserted it. But thanks.

                • Hollygolightly says:

                  I don’t know why you are such a right-fighter, but, I find it a bit sad. You have such a great deal of knowledge to share, and yet you are always so cantankerous in your delivery. It’s so off-putting and unnecessary. Rather TRUMPY, actually. Please tone it down a bit? Asking sincerely.

                  • bmaz says:

                    No. And calling me a “right fighter” and “Trumpy” is beyond ignorant. If you are going to tone police us, and insult with things you know nothing about, you will be gone as quickly as you magically arrived.

  2. emptywheel says:

    I don’t think anyone who followed the trial closely thought it’d be done that quick (including bc there were delays getting them evidence and they only deliberated a half day Friday). Both Norm Pattis and Brandi seem to think it won’t happen before Tuesday.

    • Kope a Pia says:

      After Bmaz commented on his reasons for a possible Friday verdict I was looking forward to the verdict then, now it looks like that moves to Tuesday.

      • timbozone says:

        Between then and now, with something this complex, there may be requests by the jury for further instructions and further evidence to review, etc, etc. I’m not holding my breath on tmw being the end of deliberations…

        I have a question for knowledgeable here:

        Does the jury have to return all the verdicts at once? Is that a legal requirement in this case?

  3. e.a. foster says:

    iF THEY are in a nice hotel while deliberating, and have things to do at home, which aren’t fun, who knows a weekend in a hotel might not be so bad.
    The jury may want to spend time discussing how they are going to go about deliberations, given there is more than one accused.We will most likely find out when some one of the jury decides to write a book about it.

  4. Vinnie Gambone says:

    Before closing arguments I wrote then deleted my worry that the seditious conspiracy charge may not have been proven fully. I wrote there were no maps, no diagrams, no papers, no texted specific instructions, or transmitted orders: go here, do this, come back when you are done.

    Mulro’s comment about going to a ball game and getting bought a hot dog fell short. I pray the jury buys the argument they all participated, and the conspiracy was conceived and completed when they all joined in the wildness Trump promised.

    I deleted the comments because I did not want to give defense words they could use. i.e. there were no maps, diagrams, lists…

    But now that it is over I will state… I am worried. These fucks knew their actions might have consequences and in their pseudo military minds they knew they should be cautious about not leaving evidence. They created and left some, but I worry. It may not be enough to convince everyone on the jury.

    Thank you to Brandi, Mr Parlff, and the entire Empty Wheel community.
    I also worry about what we truth seekers would do without your focus, and voices.

    • Ginevra diBenci says:

      I believe you’re referring to Norm Pattis with the ballgame/hotdog analogy. Which, I agree, seems to have fallen flat in the versions I’ve read.

    • Lady4Real says:

      There was a written plan that involved taking over the legislative office complex using some sort of pretext. There were also coordinated plans to hold weapons in a hotel room and for a quick reaction force to deliver those weapons to the insurrectionists upon demand. There were also lots of people pulling up the blueprints for the capitol complex. I don’t know if that proves seditious conspiracy but I won’t be surprised if they are all convicted of that charge.

      • timbozone says:

        This. If that was admitted as evidence in this case then it certainly would weigh in the decision process of the jury. That plan does seem to be material to the charge.

  5. Peterr says:

    Friday has come and gone without a jury verdict in the Proud Boys case . . .

    Having served on a jury with multiple defendants, let me say that simply going through all the instructions and applying the law to each defendant takes time. Yes, the instructions are the same, but you have to go through the whole thing for each one. Some might be easy calls, while others might be closer calls.

    Just as questioning witnesses takes more time when you have a prosecutor and multiple defendants, each with their own attorney, so does the work of the jury when it comes to deliberations with multiple defendants and multiple charges. I wouldn’t read too much into them not reaching verdicts — plural, not singular — by Friday afternoon.

  6. harpie says:

    After 62 days of listening, this jury finally gets a chance to ACT on all of those exhibits, arguments and instructions. It seems to me that they are taking their big and complicated job very seriously, and that’s a good thing.

    I do trust them. That’s why it will be ok [for me] if I am disappointed with any of the verdicts.

    [I feel I have to add that IF there is a previously undetected MAGA holdout that gums up the works for political reasons, then I will be pretty miffed.]

  7. Ebenezer Scrooge says:

    Let’s remember that the prosecutors didn’t get all they wanted in the Oath Keepers’ case, which was similar in legal complexity but evidentially easier. (Fewer defendants; more breadcrumbs.) But the prosecutors got what was needed. Let’s just sit and wait.

    • bmaz says:

      Huh. Because there were just as many multiple defendants (five) in the OK case and the jury reached a verdict within three days. So “fewer defendants; more breadcrumbs” is just bullshit. You ever done a criminal jury trial and waited for a jury to return? Because the sitting and waiting is the hardest part.

      • bmaz says:

        Actually, strike that. The absolute hardest part is when they have reached a verdict and are ready to return. They file by, single file, you and your client(s) and will never look at you. They know what they have done, know you do not know, and refuse to even make eye contact.

      • Peterr says:

        Some juries may work more quickly than others, just as some lawyers are more or less concise in their presentations and some trials move more or less quickly.

        Have you ever been on a criminal jury trial, and known the pressure that comes from knowing what rides on your decisions? Sitting and waiting outside the jury room may be hard, but so is sitting inside the jury room.

        • bmaz says:

          You know damn well I have never sat on a criminal jury, and never will. Nor even a civil one. But the jury are the ones who saw and accepted every single bit of evidence and argument, no, they do not need to go through every iota of it again while deliberating.

          They are the ones who know it. Unless there is a hangup with one or more jurors, or as to the instructions. Spare me the lecture please.

          • Former AFPD says:

            bmaz, I’ve been antsy ever since the case went to the jury. I hoped they’d return more quickly, but I’ve seen trials go both ways with a fast result. And I’ve seen the jury walk in and studiously avoid looking towards the defense table, a sure sign of what’s about to happen. I just keep telling myself that the number of defendants and counts, and the burden of the significance of the case, makes this jury work more slowly. Perhaps it is a single juror or two who are insisting on a different pace. Who knows? I’m thinking there may be a jury note or two at the start of the week.

            • bmaz says:

              Yep, “who knows?” is exactly right. I certainly do not, but will be pretty interested to find out.

            • Ginevra diBenci says:

              I heard they sent a couple of notes yesterday. Vaguely recollect that they wanted to re-view portions of video including Biggs.

              • Former AFPD says:

                I’m reviewing the docket on PACER. The first jury note was on 4/26 at 4:35 pm. All jury notes have the foreperson’s name redacted. The first note asks for exhibit numbers for the video showing “Rehl’s phone crossing the barricade at breach”, and the video where “Biggs suggests they pull their masks up”. On 4/27 at 10:20 am, in different handwriting, the jury requests these exhibits: USCP police shield; PB megaphone; MOSD leader/membership chart. There are several jury notes which cannot be accessed by the public on PACER. Access has been limited to counsel and the court. These notes are informative and interesting. Going any farther than that is reading tea leaves, to my mind.

          • joel fisher says:

            I’m guessing each juror hears about 90% of the same trial. Comparing their literal and figurative notes must take a fair amount of time. Multiply by multiple defendants and a perceived obligation to spend some time working through each count for each defendant and you have a few days. Way too early to worry about a deadlock.

            • earlofhuntingdon says:

              Your 90% figure is probably high, since most people process much less than that of what they hear.

              • Kope a Pia says:

                Yes, while you have people that tune out portions of different things there are others who process information into what would seem to be different from what has actually been said.

              • joel fisher says:

                I was trying to be nice. TBH, 50% is closer to the mark. and that figure is fading as this was a pretty long trial.

      • Drew in Bronx says:

        This jury did not have 3 days of deliberations this week. I don’t think we can conclude anything from their not coming in with a verdict by noon on Friday.

        • bmaz says:

          Thanks. I am quite aware of how long the trial proceeded, and how long the jury has deliberated to date. As you may have noticed, this has been covered here at Emptywheel. I have NOT “concluded” anything. But the question I raise is germane. But, hey, the rush of internet jury trial experts to inform my thoughts is really heartwarming.

          And, by the way, I have been asking the question of the usefulness of emphasizing seditious conspiracy from the get go. As in before either this or the OK trial began. It offers nothing more significant in terms of punishment than traditional, easy to understand, charges.

          • Peterr says:

            The front page tag that *you* attached to this post is this: “The Proud Boys jury is dividing on something. What is it?”

            That sounds a lot like a conclusion to me — and one which I (and others, it appears) believe is premature.

            • bmaz says:

              Absolute bullshit. I will stand by that. And it was never a tag. It was my actual post, which you, and others, have completely misunderstood and misrepresented. But, again, thanks for all the fish.

              • Peterr says:

                Tag may not be the right word, but without going backstage to the dashboard, I can’t remember what the item is called where you input the text you want to show up on the front page underneath the featured image.

                You said they are dividing on something, plain and simple. I didn’t misunderstand a single word of that sentence on the front page.

                I don’t think it is nearly early enough to draw the conclusion, based on my experience on a jury in a case with four defendants and multiple charges. It simply takes longer to process all the instructions and charges, then assess whether the evidence supports each charge against each defendant.

                • bmaz says:

                  Yeah. Thanks for your one instant of jury service.

                  But, again, hell, I am sure you know more about all this than I do. After 35+ years. Thanks!

                  • Peterr says:

                    From the post:

                    Couple of days ago, somebody asked me when I expected a verdict. That is fools’ play, but I said probably Friday because juries want to get on with their lives, and not come back, yet again, the next week.

                    And juries also want to get it right.

                    In this case, knowing that their work is going to get scrutinized within an inch of its life, that desire to get it right is probably a bit stronger than a desire to get home on a Friday night.

                    (And for the record, I’ve served on more than one jury, but only one with multiple defendants and multiple charges.)

                    • bmaz says:

                      What a load of fucking shit. I have been here from day one saying juries do their best to get things right, and YOU are going to waltz in here and preach to me? Seriously? Stop and back STFU up. No, I will not do this with you, a part time “juror”.

        • Fran of the North says:

          If you can find a terrestrial radio station that carries “Into the Music”, you may find you fancy it. Each episode is a deep dive into a band from the 60’s and 70’s. Always great music and smart commentary.

          Last Friday night was Part One of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. One of the cool anecdotes was that the first time Roger McGuinn heard Tom on Rickenbacker on ‘Here Comes My Girl’ and he thought it was something that the Byrd’s had recorded but that he had forgotten do to the ingestion of certain substances!

  8. Yogarhythms says:

    I agree this trial wasn’t kept narrow and strong. I know the jury is incubating the verdict. Unlike a duckling the verdict may hatch not according to biology but an unknown rhythm unique to this jury. I’m hopeful the time needed by the jury will produce the best verdict.

  9. David F. Snyder says:

    Given how the trial portion was dragged out forever, I’m not surprised that the jury decision was more prolonged than I hoped. I can imagine at least one juror having what they think is reasonable doubt about, say, Rehl’s role in any conspiracy, and that is all it takes to drag this out for a few days.

  10. Rayne says:

    It would probably help to offer a simple summary of the task before the jury in order to explain why it will take longer than than some observers have expected.

    These five Proud Boys were indicted by a grand jury:

    Enrique Tarrio – chairman of Proud Boys, FL state director of Latinos for Trump
    Ethan Nordean – a leader and recruiter of Proud Boys
    Dominic Pezzola – Proud Boys member
    Joseph “Joe” Biggs – a leader and organizer of Proud Boys
    Zachary Rehl – president of Philadelphia Proud Boys chapter

    These are the federal charges against each of the them:

    COUNT 1: 18 US.C. § 2384 — Seditious Conspiracy

    COUNT 2: 18 US.C. § 1512(k) — Conspiracy to Obstruct Official Proceeding

    COUNT 3: 18 US.C. §§ 1512(c)(2), 2 — Obstruction of an Official Proceeding and Aiding and Abetting

    COUNT 4: 18 US.C. § 372 — Conspiracy to Prevent an Officer from Discharging Any Duties

    COUNT 5: 18 US.C. §§ 231(2)(3), 2 — Obstruction of Law Enforcement During Civil Disorder and Aiding and Abetting

    COUNTS 6, 7: 18 U.S.C. §§ 1361, 2 — Destruction of Government Property and Aiding and Abetting

    COUNTS 8, 9: 18 US.C. § 111(a)(1) — Assaulting, Resisting, or Impeding Certain Officers

    COUNT 10: 18 US.C. § 2112 — Robbery of Personal Property of the United States

    This is the indictment: https://www.justice.gov/usao-dc/case-multi-defendant/file/1510991/download

    Not all of them acted together uniformly at the same time; the evidence is not uniform against each one of them.

    IMO, of course it would take more than Weds+Thurs+Friday to evaluate a total of fifty charges considering one of these charges has been rarely used.

    • FiestyBlueBird says:

      Word for the day: Patience

      Though I’m partial to the related Prudence.

      As in Dear Prudence.

    • Rugger_9 says:

      Indeed, that is a lot to go through with various defense arguments muddying the waters. Having served on two criminal juries, we did not take long because in both cases the objective evidence told the story. How much of this case’s evidence is circumstantial in nature where the interpretation could be molded? If there is enough of that kind for any of the defendants, that will delay things because the jury needs to deal with all of them now.

    • bmaz says:

      As with Peter, thanks for the lecture. Yes, as a reader of Emptywheel, I know what the charges are. Thanks for the help. I asked a very particular question, and one I have argued for a long time. Apparently one that went over the heads of most here. But, again, thanks for the lecture and all the fish.

      • Rayne says:

        I’m not lecturing you. My comment was left for the benefit of community members who have been wondering why there wasn’t a verdict on Friday and need something more than your 177-word post to wrap their head around.

        Ease up on firing off the spines, cactus, you don’t need to frag your team mates.

        • bmaz says:

          Thanks. And I don’t need to be “fragged” either by people relentlessly misrepresenting what I said and asked. I fully understand the seriousness of the matter, and that is why I have always argued “seditious conspiracy” was dumb and that obvious crimes should be pursued. But what could I possibly know?

            • bmaz says:

              That is an excellent article by Parloff. The questions he asks on the tail end are critical though.

              My question is why are people so blood thirsty for “seditious conspiracy”? It is unnecessary. It adds absolutely nothing to possible sentencing parameters on easily proven other charges.

              It is entirely gratuitous, but it appeals to those yakking about “treason” and whatnot. People that think the justice system is a balm for their political issues. It simply is not. Prove up the easy stuff, convict and sentence them, and move along. And the same applies to the bigger fish.

    • Ginevra diBenci says:

      Thanks, Rayne. That was a helpful reminder of what the forest looks like. I’ve gotten lost in the trees recently.

  11. doug_the_techie says:

    I’m not surprised that there is no verdict yet.

    I served on a month long federal organized crime RICO case. There was only one count but it involved a lot of elements that we had to go over one by one. Jury was an interesting collection of folks with different backgrounds. But we quickly settled in and selected a foreperson and began going over all the evidence we heard the previous month. I was really quite surprised at how everyone carefully went through the evidence. Still, it took us a good 5 days to go through each element starting off with a presumption of innocence. We had to find each element to “beyond a reasonable doubt.” For some elements there were jurors who needed to review evidence and wiretaps to refresh their memory which we would do. There were no “holdouts” or significant disagreements but it still took 5 days. In the end we convicted. The wiretap evidence was compelling.

    A humorous note: The first day of the trial a defendant kept looking/smiling/winking at me. Seemed weird. What I found out researching after the trial was that I had, on that first day, worn a brightly colored windbreaker that just happened to be the gang’s “colors.”

    Another oddity. One of the wires had a gang member trying to convince a local dealer to join them and pay taxes. His argument was “You wouldn’t drive without insurance. Right?” So pay for our protection.

    • Ginevra diBenci says:

      So…never wear red or blue (Bloods and Crips) or, now, yellow (PBs). With primary colors out, maybe my sister’s purple/green/orange knits have a new market: jury members?

  12. morganism says:

    To me the P1 calling for the J6 date for a putsch shows the sitting gov had a plan to literally attack the federal gov, even if that gov wasn’t handed over yet. So they are trying to prove the “come, will be wild” as the basis for a militia intervention.

    It also seems that by actually fundraising for J6, (especially across state lines) and/or to overturn elections would put you in a direct conspiracy to overthrow the US. The fundraising takes planning, even just to set up bank accts to direct to.

    And there were many state AGs from multiple states ready with prepared notices to send to fed Legislature. The alt slate of electors story is plenty of paper trail, and used state funding/time, and not open record, to show conspiracy to overthrow. That doesn’t seem to be a “states rights” issue.

    But what if they are using the J6 date comms on the proffers of AGs and legislators in the states Alt Slate may be considering charging like GA and AZ?
    That sedition charge is going to be a very heavy gavel to threaten with.

    If funds raised were used in con to overthrow, it should be a straight shot to charge seditious conspiracy, and not a 1st Am freedom action. If those funds were raised by the same folks who stated they wanted the election overturned, or even the pre-ordained actions of gov stopped, it seems to show con to obstruction with intent to overthrow.

    Follow the money, and it leads to sedition instead of just con to obstruct.
    Fundraising or funding third party for overturning an election may be a strategy they are trying to box in for later.

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