Media Organizations Omit Mention of Trump’s Allegedly Criminal Exploitation of 2020 Debates

Twelve media organizations are clamoring for another set of debates between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. In their naive call for debates, they claim that because the stakes on this election are so high, “there is simply no substitute” for the candidates “debating” each other, presenting, “their visions for the future of our nation.”

With the contours of the 2024 general election now coming into clear focus, we – the undersigned national news organizations – urge the presumptive presidential nominees to publicly commit to participating in general election debates before November’s election.

General election debates have a rich tradition in our American democracy, having played a vital role in every presidential election of the past 50 years, dating to 1976. In each of those elections, tens of millions have tuned in to watch the candidates debating side by side, in a competition of ideas for the votes of American citizens.

Since 1988, the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates has sponsored all presidential general election debates. The Commission has previously announced dates, times, and eligibility criteria for 2024 debates. Though it is too early for invitations to be extended to any candidates, it is not too early for candidates who expect to meet the eligibility criteria to publicly state their support for – and their intention to participate in – the Commission’s debates planned for this fall.

If there is one thing Americans can agree on during this polarized time, it is that the stakes of this election are exceptionally high. Amidst that backdrop, there is simply no substitute for the candidates debating with each other, and before the American people, their visions for the future of our nation. [my emphasis]

I mean, they’re not wrong that debates provide an opportunity to display a candidate’s vision for America.

In the first debate in 2020, for example, Biden asked Trump to disavow right wing violence, and instead, Trump told the Proud Boys to “Stand Back and Stand By.”

Stoking political violence certainly is part of Trump’s “vision for the future of our nation.”

Because of the way Trump’s comment drove recruiting for the Proud Boys, it made the opening arguments of the Proud Boy leaders’ sedition trial.

If we’re lucky enough to get a Trump trial for January 6 (one that would likely create scheduling difficulties for a debate in any case and as such Trump would use as another attempt to stall accountability), Trump’s call out to the violent militia that kicked off the attack on the Capitol will feature prominently again. Prosecutors have already informed Judge Tanya Chutkan they plan to use both Trump’s call out and his later coddling of Enrique Tarrio to show how, both before and after the attack, Trump encouraged that assault on democracy.

The Government plans to introduce evidence from the period in advance of the charged conspiracies that demonstrates the defendant’s encouragement of violence. For instance, in response to a question during the September 29, 2020, presidential debate asking him to denounce the extremist group the Proud Boys, the defendant instead spoke publicly to them and told them to “stand back and stand by.” Members of the group embraced the defendant’s words as an endorsement and printed merchandise with them as a rallying cry. As discussed below, after the Proud Boys and other extremist groups participated in obstructing the congressional certification on January 6, the defendant made clear that they were acting consistent with his intent and direction in doing so.


Of particular note are the specific January 6 offenders whom the defendant has supported— namely, individuals convicted of some of the most serious crimes charged in relation to January 6, such as seditious conspiracy and violent assaults on police officers. During a September 17, 2023, appearance on Meet the Press, for instance, the defendant said regarding Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio—who was convicted of seditious conspiracy—“I want to tell you, he and other people have been treated horribly.” The defendant then criticized the kinds of lengthy sentences received only by defendants who, like Tarrio, committed the most serious crimes on January 6.

Effectively, this will make the Proud Boys quasi co-conspirators with Donald Trump at trial.

This is the kind of overt act in a criminal conspiracy to attack democracy itself that media outlets say is vital to our democracy.

But Trump’s exploitation of debates does not stop there.

Consider the allegations surrounding Tony Bobulinski, Fox News’ favorite source — at least, the favorite source who has not yet been indicted — for scandal-mongering about Hunter Biden.

For the third debate in 2020, after top Trump aides pitched Bobulinski tales to the WSJ based on laptop content that Hunter claims was stolen, Trump hosted Bobulinski as his guest. The very next day, Bobulinski marched into the FBI and is recorded as telling them a bunch of things that Bobulinski now claims he didn’t say — including that he saw Joe Biden get an enormous diamond from China. Weeks later, according to Cassidy Hutchinson, he had a secret meeting with Mark Meadows. Bobulinski doesn’t (now that Hutchinson released video evidence) deny the meeting; he denies he was handed something that might or might not be an envelope.

I guess framing your opponent’s son, like attacking democracy itself, is part of Trump’s vision for America. But actual journalists should not need — or want — a debate to serve as vehicle for that.

And while the circumstances around the third such instance of potentially criminal activity tied to a 2020 debate are less clear, one thing is not. As part of the Jeffrey Jensen effort to reverse the conviction of Mike Flynn, dates got added to the notes of Peter Strzok and Andrew McCabe — inaccurate dates in at least one case.

Based on that inaccurate date, first Sidney Powell (who was in contact with Jenna Ellis at the time) and then Trump himself falsely claimed that Joe Biden — and not Bob Litt, as other evidence makes clear — first raised concerns that Mike Flynn may have violated the Logan Act by undermining foreign policy before he became National Security Advisor.

Trump gleefully used that fraudulent claim in the first debate against Biden.

President Donald J. Trump: (01:02:22)
We’ve caught them all. We’ve got it all on tape. We’ve caught them all. And by the way, you gave the idea for the Logan Act against General Flynn. You better take a look at that, because we caught you in a sense, and President Obama was sitting in the office.

It was another instance of an attempt to falsely frame his opponent.

So let’s grant the media outlets that Trump has gleefully displayed his vision of America at the 2020 debates with Joe Biden by serially attempting to frame his competitor and inciting violence.

But what I don’t understand — what makes me genuinely embarrassed for the group of good journalists who work at some of these media outlets — is why they believe there is “no substitute” for debates to tell such a story.

Are you telling me the only way you can convey to voters that Trump’s vision for America is violence, fraud, and revenge is by giving him a platform to engage in such activities? Why wouldn’t you instead pursue aggressive journalism to tell more of these stories?

Twelve media outlets claim that the only way they can display Trump’s dystopian vision for America is by being complicit in it.

Update: Many people, in comments and on social media, reminded me that Trump willfully exposed Biden and others to COVID.

emptywheel Takes to MSNBC to Explain the January 6 Investigation

MSNBC was kind enough to invite me to make the case, again, that those blaming Merrick Garland for delays in the January 6 investigation simply aren’t familiar with the investigation. Readers will be familiar with much of this, but two details are new.

First, I describe what investigative steps prosecutors had to take to prepare the most obvious piece of evidence, Trump’s 2:24 tweet targeting Mike Pence.

Take the tweet Trump sent at 2:24 p.m. Jan. 6: “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage.” It was right there in public! But to present that in court first required the exploitation of at least two phones, nine months of fights over executive privilege, a 23-day stall from Twitter and two sets of interviews with at least eight different top aides.

And something that’s long overdue: Holding the January 6 Committee responsible for their unnecessary delays, which almost bolloxed the Proud Boys trial.

One delay that was unnecessary was caused by some of the people who most loudly blamed Garland: the Jan. 6 Committee. DOJ first asked the committee for witness transcripts in April 2022. That June, prosecutors in the trial of leaders of the Proud Boys agreed to reschedule their trial from August until December because the committee would not release transcripts until September. The prosecutors were vindicated when those transcripts finally came out in December, after three additional months of delay and jury selection had already started. Twice during the trial, prosecutors learned that witnesses had told the committee something they hadn’t told the FBI; in one instance, a committee transcript revealed an attorney conflict that threatened prosecutors’ reliance on testimony from their most important cooperating witness. Given that court filings suggest Smith will treat the Proud Boys akin to co-conspirators when this case finally goes to trial, those are the kinds of unnecessary screw-ups that could jeopardize Trump’s trial itself.

The Non-Visible Networks behind the More Visible Networks of Fascism

There’s an RT posted at the Guccifer 2.0 Twitter account in 2016 that has always puzzled me: a stupid meme, posted on Labor Day, about what unemployed people do on Labor Day.

Virtually all Guccifer 2.0’s other public Tweets served to sustain a cover story about the hack-and-leak operation and its tie to WikiLeaks, disseminate stolen documents, or network with those who might be used to disseminate stolen documents. This RT does not do that — at least not obviously — and it deviates from the BernieBro culture adopted by the Guccifer persona up to that point. It suggests either there was an unseen tie to far right meme culture, or that someone had access to this account who was part of it.

The RT is especially interesting given that three different GRU indictments (DNC, Anti-Doping, Macron Leaks) adopt different approaches in discussing the dissemination of the documents stolen by GRU, which I’ve addressed here and here. In 2016, the Guccifer persona cultivated ties with Roger Stone and Alex Jones and released select files (on Black Lives Matter) to then-Breitbart, future-Sputnik writer Lee Stranahan. By the time of the Macron Leaks in May 2017, Jack Posobiec played an even more central, overt role in the leak part of the operation, via still unidentified Latvian account. But this meme suggests some other tie in real time.

Keep this RT in mind as you read the following discussion, about the extent to which much of what we visibly see in the Republican slide to fascism is just the public manifestation of a far more instrumental and far uglier infrastructure that exists in chat rooms.

Some of what we know about the 2016 state of that infrastructure comes from exhibits introduced at the Douglass Mackey trial. On the very same day Guccifer 2.0 RTed that meme, for example, the trolls in the Madman Twitter DM list were pushing memes to push a narrative, one picked up from Trump, that Hillary Clinton was unwell and might not make the election — a narrative about a Democrat replicated, with far greater success, in this election.

White nationalists plotted in private about how to get minorities to turn on Democrats. They explicitly focused on ways to affect turnout in ways that could swing the election.

As I’ve written here and here, the far right efforts to set a narrative that would (and did) help Trump win the presidency started over a year before the election. Both Andrew “Weev” Auernheimer — the webmaster for Daily Stormer — and Microchip worked hard in early months to professionalize the effort. They planned campaigns that would bridge from reddit, 4Chan, and The Donald onto Twitter, including efforts that started at Daily Stormer. This effort was transnational: the trolls reached back to efforts made during Brexit and looked ahead to EU elections, and planned to build a bigger bot army. They complained about Twitter’s shoddy efforts to moderate and plotted ways to defeat any moderation.

The effort by far right trolls to hijack the virality of Twitter to get mainstream journalists to echo their far right themes had at least two direct ties to Trump’s campaign. Anthime “Baked Alaska” Gionet, whom Microchip alerted when the FBI first came calling, claimed to be part of a Trump campaign Slack, to which he invited others.

More importantly, Don Jr has confessed he was part of this network (curiously, when the Mackey took the stand at trial, he claimed to know nothing about the identities of his unindicted co-conspirators. As I have noted, there’s a troll in that channel who used the moniker P0TUSTrump and whom other trolls called Donald that was pushing hashtags pushing stolen documents on the same days Don Jr was doing so on his eponymous Twitter account. From there, trolls like Microchip made them go viral. If P0TUSTrump is Don Jr, then, it shows that he was a key channel between WikiLeaks through this far right channel to make things go viral.

Between 2016 and 2020, people associated with this far right group orchestrated PizzaGate, may have had a hand in QAnon, and helped disseminated documents stolen by GRU from Emmanuel Macron. PizzaGate and QAnon served as powerful recruiting narratives. I’ve shown how Doug Jensen, the QAnoner who chased Officer Eugene Goodman up the Senate stairs on January 6, went from a lifelong union Democrat to hating Hillary to throwing away his life in QAnon to attacking the Capitol via that process of radicalization. Early prosecutions, at least, suggested that QAnon was actually more successful at getting bodies where they could obstruct the vote certification than the militias.

But even as that cult narrative of QAnon was radicalizing people from all walks of life, the same network was replicating networks of more overtly partisan, paramilitary mobilization.

I suppose I or someone else should draw a network map of this.

But we know that Roger Stone had a Signal list call Friends of Stone, which included among its 47 members Stewart Rhodes, Enrique Tarrio, Ali Alexander, and Owen Shroyer, along with anti-vaxxers, Bundyists, Mike Flynn associate Ivan Raiklin, and longtime aides Jacobs Engels and Tyler Ziolkowski (who, along with Tarrio, were both implicated in the meme targeting Amy Berman Jackson during Stone’s prosecution).

Both Rhodes and Tarrio ran parallel sets of communication leading up to the insurrection — more public, accessible communications, and more select lists (on Signal in Rhodes’ case and on Telegram in Tarrio’s) that planned for the operation. Unlike Twitter, Signal and Telegram would only be accessible to law enforcement after exploiting the phones on which they were used, and only then if the comms hadn’t been successfully deleted.

Tarrio would also be networked into the Latinos for Trump group, along with Bianca Gracia and Oath Keeper Kellye SoRelle, with whom he visited the White House in December 2020 and both of whom were present for the parking garage meeting Tarrio had with Rhodes on January 5, 2021. One court filing submitted in advance of the trial of the cop who allegedly tipped off Tarrio to his arrest shows Tarrio also has a “Christian Nationalist” group that officer Shane Lamond joined on November 9, 2020. Another filing shows how Lamond warned Tarrio about investigations into Harry’s Bar and the Proud Boys organizing on Parler.

Ali Alexander and Brandon Straka provided the January 6 Committee (entirely unreliable) descriptions of the all-important Stop the Steal threads on which Alexander organized — first — early mob scenes at state capitols and then events around January 6 itself (though unlike Alexander, who fully attributed getting the brand from Roger Stone, Straka disclaimed knowledge of all that). Straka did acknowledge that Paul Gosar had ties to the Stop the Steal effort. The sentencing memorandum for Alan Hostetter, a key player in the SoCal anti-vax community with ties to 3Percenters, actually contacted Alexander on December 16, 2020, to suggest Stop the Steal organize a rally for January 6, though it’s not clear via what channel he knew him. While the leaders of the Stop the Steal effort were on Twitter until a late move to Signal (again, if we can believe unreliable J6C testimony), it spawned a massive viral effort on other platforms, including Facebook.

In addition to being the big draw for the donation from Publix heir Julie Fancelli, Alex Jones has his own media infrastructure. Organizers claim some percentage — a fifth or a third — of those at the Capitol were there for Jones, not Trump. Like Alexander, he also mobilized the earlier mobs in the states.

It’s not entire clear how Baked Alaska continues to fit into this network. But in order to avoid felony charges (as Straka had earlier), he reportedly agreed to share the kind of network information that would further elucidate these networks.

And that network of lists and threads maps onto this one, the list of people who, in 2020, were the most effective at spreading disinformation on Twitter.

We just don’t know via what chat rooms and threads they map, who else is in that map, and what international ties they have.

What kind of chat rooms did Don Jr inhabit, four years after he networked with Douglass Mackey, that helped him direct a broader network to make false claims go viral? Today, as Ric Grenell — Trump’s troll turned Ambassador to Germany turned Acting Director of National Intelligence — returns from supporting a coup attempt in Guatemala, what international networks was he mobilizing?

I’m always most fascinated by the role of Mike Roman on this list, punching well above his modest Twitter following of 29,610 people. Roman, a charged co-conspirator in Trump’s Georgia indictment, is claiming Fani Willis has a conflict arising from a personal relationship with one of the prosecutors she brought in for the case. He’s often thought of someone who ferried documents from fake electors around, but before that he was a kind of internal intelligence service for Trump targeting Republicans, and before that, the Kochs. Like Grenell, he has branched out to push far right policies internationally, in Canada. None of those activities, however, explain what chat rooms he was in that allowed him to help spread the Big Lie in 2020. They must exist, and yet they’re not yet visible.

Mike Roman is one of the Trump associates whose phone DOJ seized before Jack Smith was appointed. To the extent he didn’t delete them, that should disclose his networks to prosecutors.

As I noted above, increasingly, these networks have moved to platforms, especially Telegram and Signal, that are harder to investigate, particularly without advance notice. It took years (starting before January 6, with the seizure of Tarrio’s phone, which nevertheless took a full year to exploit) before the government had collected at least three sets of the Friends of Stone list.

That’s true even though some network effect — whether including anyone named here or not — likely explains a swatting campaign that has targeted:

While not all targets are seen as adversaries of Trump, or even Democrats, his top adversaries have been targeted. The swatting campaign is, at a minimum, terrorism (and could be part of a campaign to do real violence).

And there’s a non-zero chance that behind it is the same kind of non-visible infrastructure the far right has been professionalizing for a decade.

My effort to describe how Trump trained the Republican party to hate rule of law will describe the visible aspects of that effort. But behind it all, these non-visible networks form an integral part of the effort.

Update: Took out reference to Pepe.

This post is part of a Ball of Thread I’m putting together before I attempt to explain how Trump trained Republicans to hate rule of law. See this post for an explanation of my Ball of Thread.

Ratifying Sedition: The Proud Boys 404(b) Evidence

As I noted yesterday, the government provided its 404(b) notice in Trump’s January 6 case. 404(b) notices alert the defendant to evidence that may or may not be intrinsic to the case but in any case shows the defendant’s criminal propensity.

In addition to showing how the Trump campaign tried to start a riot at the TCF Center in Detroit, DOJ also wants to show that Trump’s celebration of the Proud Boys bookends his own assault on democracy.

As the filing describes, Trump called out the militia at the first debate, and then — almost three years later — complained that convicted seditionist Enrique Tarrio faces a long sentence.

The Government plans to introduce evidence from the period in advance of the charged conspiracies that demonstrates the defendant’s encouragement of violence. For instance, in response to a question during the September 29, 2020, presidential debate asking him to denounce the extremist group the Proud Boys, the defendant instead spoke publicly to them and told them to “stand back and stand by.” Members of the group embraced the defendant’s words as an endorsement and printed merchandise with them as a rallying cry. As discussed below, after the Proud Boys and other extremist groups participated in obstructing the congressional certification on January 6, the defendant made clear that they were acting consistent with his intent and direction in doing so.


Of particular note are the specific January 6 offenders whom the defendant has supported— namely, individuals convicted of some of the most serious crimes charged in relation to January 6, such as seditious conspiracy and violent assaults on police officers. During a September 17, 2023, appearance on Meet the Press, for instance, the defendant said regarding Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio—who was convicted of seditious conspiracy—“I want to tell you, he and other people have been treated horribly.” The defendant then criticized the kinds of lengthy sentences received only by defendants who, like Tarrio, committed the most serious crimes on January 6.

DOJ’s plan to show this is not surprising. After all, DOJ kicked off the Proud Boy sedition trial with Trump’s shout out to the Proud Boys.

But the significance, given the way DOJ has structured its conspiracy prosecutions from the start, is far more than damning evidence.

That’s because one of the conspiracy charges against Trump, 18 USC 1512(k), is one of the charges of which the Proud Boy leaders were convicted.

Aside from that public shout-out, which DOJ describes as, Trump speaking “publicly to them,” Donald Trump is not known to have communicated directly with any of them. But as I illustrated in January, Ethan Nordean, Joe Biggs, and Enrique Tarrio all communicated with Alex Jones and Roger Stone (and Owen Shroyer — who has two more days left in his sentence in Oakdale Correctional), even during the attack. Both of them, Jones and Stone — who have not been charged — communicated directly with Trump (and Mark Meadows). Stone’s actions leading up to January 6 were central to the guilty obstruction verdicts in Proud Boy Dan “Milkshake” Scott’s plea and Chris Worrell’s bench trial.

There may be more than that.

At the Proud Boy Leaders trial, for example, prosecutors introduced a series of Telegram chats from the day of, and immediately following, Trump’s shout-out. The men were giddy at Trump’s recognition.

In the wake of Trump’s debate recognition, there was talk of Trump inviting Proud Boys to the White House (Tarrio eventually did visit the White House, in December, as part of a Latinos for Trump event).

There was talk of mobbing election offices.

And, on November 8, Tarrio warned now-cooperating witness Jeremy Bertino not to wear colors because the campaign “asked us” not to do so.

As the campaign was ginning up mobs in swing states, Tarrio at least claimed to have some contact directly with the campaign. Stone is not the only candidate to be Tarrio’s tie to the campaign; Kellye SoRelle, who knew Tarrio from Latinos for Trump, was involved in the mob scene in Michigan.

A month ago, lead Proud Boys prosecutor Erik Kenerson dropped off one of the key pending Proud Boy prosecutions. There are many things that could explain that, but when other prosecutors — like Mary Dohrmann — moved under Jack Smith, that’s the kind of public activity that marked the move.

Several things have made clear in recent days that DOJ doesn’t consider the list of six uncharged co-conspirators in Trump’s January 6 indictment to be exclusive.

In their description of the TCF riot, for example, DOJ described the campaign employee who encouraged rioting (possibly Mike Roman) as “an agent (and unindicted co-conspirator).” Whoever it is would be a seventh co-conspirator.

More curiously, when Tanya Chutkan corrected Trump’s false representation of the indictment in her ruling that he did not have absolute immunity, she described that, “Defendant, along with at least six co-conspirators, id. ¶8, undertook efforts ‘to impair, obstruct, and defeat [that process] through dishonesty, fraud, and deceit,’ id. ¶ 10.” That comment stuck with me, as everyone else who has commented on the indictment has treated the six co-conspirators as an exclusive list. But sure enough, that paragraph she cites describes that the six co-conspirators laid out in the indictment — Rudy Giuliani, John Eastman, Sidney Powell, Jeffrey Clark, Kenneth Chesebro, and probably Boris Epshteyn — were only “among” those with whom Trump conspired.

The Defendant enlisted co-conspirators to assist him in his criminal efforts to overturn the legitimate results of the 2020 presidential election and retain power. Among these were:

If DOJ were ever to charge someone and make it a related case, it would come before Chutkan. That’s just one way that Chutkan might know of specific additional alleged co-conspirators that we wouldn’t yet know.

Conspiracy law doesn’t require co-conspirators to get together in a room to plot together. They need only agree on the objective and take steps to achieve it. If they have networked communications between them, all the better.

At the Proud Boys trial, prosecutors made Trump’s role in their conspiracy clear. Now, leading up to the former President’s own trial, DOJ has said they will present communications that amount to an agreement in September 2020 and ratification of the Proud Boy attack on the country in September 2023.

This is not just damning evidence of fondness for the right wing militia. It’s evidence that Trump pursued the same effort to obstruct the vote certification as the Proud Boys.

“They Spoke Often:” It Took the Fash-Friendly FBI Over Two Months to Document the Lies Their Informant, Joe Biggs, Told them

The most telling detail released in DOJ’s sentencing package for Joe Biggs is this — the first 302 from after he led an attack on the nation’s Capitol, memorializing an interview done on January 8, one day after the first Proud Boy, Nicholas Ochs, was arrested.

DOJ included it — and excerpts from a second recorded interview from January 18 — to substantiate a 2-point obstruction enhancement to his sentence.

Biggs denied being with anyone he knew while he was inside the Capitol. Id. at 19:50 et. seq. (Q: “were you with anybody?” A: “No. I was lost. Like I didn’t know where to fucking go. I was by myself and I was scared shitless.”).

Biggs was asked again later in the interview whether there was anyone else with him. Biggs again claimed that he was separated and didn’t see anyone else he knew until after he left the Capitol. Id. at 25:45 et. seq. (Q: “Was there anyone else in your group that was in the Capitol?” A: [Pause] “Um, I mean, there had to have been.” Q: “You said you got separated, right?” A: “Yeah. I got separated. I didn’t see people until afterwards. I finally found people scraggling [sic] around running, you know, looking for people like me.”)

After initially denying breaking anything, Biggs was asked again whether there was anything else that was “worth sharing.” Twenty-four minutes into the interview, Biggs acknowledged “shaking” a black metal fence, but he claimed that he was only doing it because people were getting “pinned [] against it.” Id. at 24:25 et. seq. (Biggs: “I was shaking [the fence] at one point to get it loose so people could move and wouldn’t get pinned up against it” Biggs: “There was one guy who was pinned up against the fence like literally screaming; the pole was dug into his belly, and there was so much force from all the people around him, he couldn’t even breath . . . I thought that dude was gonna get hurt bad.”)

The sentencing memo suggests that Biggs victimized the FBI with these lies.

But there’s a backstory, one Biggs himself told over two years ago, in a filing submitted on March 29, 2021, in a bid to stay out of pre-trial detention.

As Biggs told the story then — two days before this 302 was finalized — Biggs would routinely reach out to cops before the Proud Boys would stage an operation, much as Enrique Tarrio did with Shane LaMond, a DC cop now being prosecuted for giving Tarrio inside tips about the investigation into him.

The same year, 2018, after the move to Florida, Biggs became active as an organizer, event planner and thought leader in the Proud Boys. He used his platform as a radio and social media personality to promote Proud Boy events and ideas. In particular, he personally planned two major events: rallies in Portland, Oregon in both 2019 and 2020 designed as counterdemonstrations against Antifa, which had been active in and around Portland for over two decades. See generally, MARK BRAY, ANTIFA: THE ANTI-FACIST HANDBOOK (August 2017) (history of Antifa networks in the Americas and Europe by social historian and Dartmouth College lecturer); L. Magelson, “Letter from Portland: In the Streets with Anitfa,” The New Yorker (Nov. 2, 2020 issue). As part of the planning, Biggs would regularly speak with by phone and in person to both local and federal law enforcement personnel stationed in Portland, including the FBI’s Portland Field Office. These talks were intended both to inform law enforcement about Proud Boy activities in Portland on a courtesy basis but also to ask for advice on planned marches or demonstrations, i.e., what march routes to take on Portland streets, where to go, where not to go. Similar conversations were held regularly with local police and FBI personnel for less major events in other cities.

As Biggs described it, rather than cracking down on the right wing group that would go on to lead an attack on the Capitol, the cops could give him “cautionary” phone calls.

By late 2018, Biggs also started to get “cautionary” phone calls from FBI agents located in Jacksonville and Daytona Beach inquiring about what Biggs meant by something politically or culturally provocative he had said on the air or on social media concerning a national issue, political parties, the Proud Boys, Antifa or other groups. Biggs regularly satisfied FBI personnel with his answers. He also stayed in touch with a number of FBI agents in and out of Florida.

As Biggs described it, he “regularly satisfied FBI personnel” with his explanations for stoking violence.

He did so even though — as his sentencing memo describes — he was openly calling for violence and attacks on the government.

Perhaps more than any other defendant, Biggs promoted the use of force against the government. Beginning in the days after the election, Biggs declared that the country could face “civil war” because the “left” was “radicalizing people by stealing th[e] election.” Ex. 603-1 and 2. Biggs told his followers that it was “time for fucking War if they steal this shit.” Ex. 603-4. Biggs steadily escalated his calls for political violence. During an episode of the “Warboys” podcast with Tarrio and Nordean in late November, Biggs demonized the “party” that was telling the public to accept the result of the election. Biggs closed his diatribe by saying that “they are evil scum and they all deserve to die a traitor’s death.” Biggs Ex. 1. Biggs’s comment prompted Nordean to calmly lean toward his microphone and say, “the day of the rope.” Id.

Biggs’s calls for political violence escalated throughout the fall, and he consistently called for war while characterizing his enemies (which included government actors such as the police) as traitors. The critical issue to Biggs was the stolen election, and he tied his calls to violence to the election. For example, in late November, in a post on his social media, Biggs warned officers in Michigan (a state won by Biden) that if they stopped electors from casting a vote for Trump, the people would “treat your thin[] blue line like we do antifa . . . get in our way and get walked over.” Ex. 603-33. Biggs declared that the officers would be “tried for treason” and that “[w]e aren[‘]t here to play games. This is war.” Id.

In fact, as Biggs further described it back in March 2021, long after he had become a key figure staging violent confrontations, five months before leading an attack on the peaceful transfer of power, an FBI Agent in Daytona Beach recruited Biggs to be an informant targeting Antifa.

In late July 2020, an FBI Special Agent out of the Daytona Beach area telephoned Biggs and asked Biggs to meet with him and another FBI agent at a local restaurant. Biggs agreed. Biggs learned after he travelled to the restaurant that the purpose of the meeting was to determine if Biggs could share information about Antifa networks operating in Florida and elsewhere. They wanted to know what Biggs was “seeing on the ground.” Biggs did have information about Antifa in Florida and Antifa networks in other parts of the United States. He agreed to share the information. The three met for approximately two hours. After the meeting, Biggs stayed in touch with the agent who had called him originally to set up the meeting. He answered follow-up questions in a series of several phone calls over the next few weeks. They spoke often.

So during the entire period when Biggs and his buddies were planning an attack on the nation’s Capitol, during the entire fall period when (prosecutors describe) Biggs was openly talking about attacking the government, he and this FBI agent?

“They spoke often.”

The FBI claims it had no notice of the terrorist attack on the nation’s Capitol, not even with an FBI agent “speaking often” with one of its leaders and an DC intelligence cop speaking often with the other one.

So now, DOJ wants to hold Joe Biggs accountable for the lies he told to the FBI agent who thought a key leader of the Proud Boys would make an appropriate informant targeting Antifa. But thus far, his handler has not been held accountable for missing the planning of a terrorist attack in DC when while speaking “often” with one of its key leaders.

Notably, the Daytona FBI office is the same one where, after fake whistleblower Stephen Friend refused to participate in a SWAT arrest of a Three Percenter known to own an assault rifle, his supervisor said “he wished I just ‘called in sick’ for this warrant,” before taking disciplinary action against him (though Friend didn’t start in Daytona Beach until after Biggs had already been arrested).

The second of these interviews (but not the first) interview was mentioned in Biggs’ arrest affidavit. It’s possible that investigating agents didn’t even know about what occurred in the first one.

Indeed, it’s really hard to credit the reliability of a 302 written two days after Biggs described his chummy relationship but not this interview in an attempt to stay out of jail.

This is why the FBI didn’t warn against January 6. Because these terrorists were the FBI’s people.

The Challenge of Treating the Proud Boy Leaders as Terrorists

The omnibus sentencing memo for the Proud Boy Leaders — an 80-page document supplemented by another 15 pages for each — describes their crime this way:

The defendants organized and directed a force of nearly 200 to attack the heart of our democracy.


None of this was mere happenstance or accident. In the months leading up to January 6, 2021, they had brought their army of violence to Portland, Kalamazoo, and Washington, D.C. And then they brought that army of violence to the Capitol to exert their political will. In doing so, these defendants attempted to silence millions of Americans who had placed their vote for a different candidate, to ignore the variety of legal and judicial mechanisms that lawfully scrutinized the electoral process leading up to and on January 6, and to shatter the democratic system of governance enshrined in our laws and in our Constitution.

For years, these defendants intentionally positioned themselves at the vanguard of political violence in this country. They brought that violence to the Capitol on January 6 in an effort to change the course of American history, and the sentences imposed by this Court should reflect the seriousness of their offenses.


The justice system’s response to January 6 will impact whether January 6 becomes an outlier or a watershed moment. “By nearly every measure, political violence is seen as more acceptable today than it was five years ago.” Adrienne LaFrance, The New Anarchy: America faces a type of extremist violence it does not know how to stop, THE ATLANTIC, Mar. 6, 2023 (citing a 2022 UC Davis poll31 that found one in five Americans believes political violence would be “at least sometimes” justified, and one in 10 believes it would be justified if it meant the return of President Trump). Left unchecked, this impulse threatens our democracy.

The defendants in this case sought to capitalize on this undercurrent in our society to change the result of a presidential election. They called for using force, intimidation, and violence to get political leaders to stop the certification of the election. They recruited others to this mission. They organized and participated in encrypted messaging groups and meetings to further their plans. Such conduct in leading and instigating an attack like January 6 demands deterrence. It is critical that this Court impose significant sentences of incarceration on all the defendants in this case to convey to those who would mobilize such political violence in the future that their actions will have consequences.

That language is a succinct statement of the terrorism committed by the Proud Boys.

But the document as a whole is a testament to how the asymmetrical treatment of terrorism in the United States makes it much harder to hold men like Enrique Tarrio and Joe Biggs accountable for attacking the Capitol that it would be if they were Islamic terrorists, rather than right wing Trump supporters.

The reason why the government had to dedicate 80 pages to justify sentences of 30 years for the core leaders of the January 6 attack is because it requires massaging the sentencing guidelines to treat white (or Afro-Cuban, as Tarrio identifies as) person terrorism like the US has long treated Islamic terrorism.

Here’s what DOJ had to in order to justify calling for these sentences:

  • Ask for consecutive sentences, effectively stacking some sentences on others
  • Adopt the treason sentencing guideline for sedition (which doesn’t otherwise have one), even while the maximum sentence for sedition is just 20 years
  • Ask that Judge Tim Kelly use the conspiracy convictions to apply the conduct of each defendant against the other, to apply the assault and property damage done by Pezzola against the others and the sedition conviction against Pezzola
  • Use enhancements for property destruction, substantial interference in the vote certification, and extensive planning on the obstruction charges
  • Use leadership or management enhancements for everyone but Pezzola
  • Ask for additional departures from the guidelines for “conduct [that] resulted in a significant disruption of a governmental function” and an “intent to frighten, intimidate, and coerce” federal lawmakers
  • Dismiss challenges (led by Nordean attorney Nick Smith over two years) to the treatment of the vote certification as an official proceeding that can be obstructed
  • Ask for a terrorism enhancement for the destruction of property (tied to the window Pezzola broke and some bicycle racks)
  • Ask for terrorism enhancement based on the clear political intent of all these crimes, including sedition, which is explicitly political
  • Add enhancements for Biggs, Tarrio, and Rehl for obstructing the investigation or trial (which is why Nordean’s proposed sentence is lower than the other guys’)
  • Describe the Oath Keeper as late-comers to sedition, by comparison
  • Laugh at any claim these men accepted responsibility for their crimes

The sentences make sense — particularly when you compare the damage these terrorists did against the aspirational Islamic terrorists who have been sentenced to even longer sentences. But in the scope of the sentencing guidelines as they exist, it all comes off as funny math.

Update: I probably should have explained in the post why this happens. Because domestic terrorism is not a crime unto itself, but instead an enhancement (which is the way it is being used with the destruction of property here), it is not finally used as a label until sentencing. Prosecutors have, in fact, been calling the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys terrorists throughout their prosecution in detention memos (relying on the same destruction of property). I addressed this in this post and this one.

Update: Here’s a post I wrote in 2015 about this asymmetry.

Note: The image accompanying this post is a challenge coin for January 6 introduced as an exhibit in Christoper Worrel (who has skipped bail as he awaits sentencing). The Proud Boys literally made the attack on the Capitol into a coin of their terrorist group. Update: Added the image to the body of the post, too, bc I confused people by referencing it w/o including it. 

Trump’s Attack on Black Votes Was There the Whole Time, We Just Didn’t Call It a Crime

As I noted in an update to this post, NYT and the Guardian have clarified that the third charge mentioned in Trump’s target letter was 18 USC 241, Conspiracy against Rights, not — as Rolling Stone originally reported — 18 USC 242.

This piece, from November 2021, explains why 241 is such a good fit to Trump’s efforts to discount the votes of 81 million Biden voters.

The Supreme Court has stressed that Section 241 contains “sweeping general words” and directed courts to give the provision “a sweep as broad as its language.” In United States v. Classic it established that the statute protects not only the right to vote but the right to have one’s vote properly counted. Classic upheld an indictment of officials who sought to aid one candidate by refusing to count votes cast for his opponent.

The broad language of Section 241 clearly encompasses the actions of those involved in Trump’s coup attempt, and the Court’s precedents support that conclusion. Evidence currently available shows that the conspirators agreed to a common scheme to overthrow the results of the 2020 presidential election, took innumerable acts designed to accomplish that goal, and intended thereby to effectively deprive millions of voters in half a dozen states—and the rest of the 81 million Americans who voted for Joe Biden—of their right to vote and have their votes properly counted.

In Anderson v. U.S. the Court explicitly held that Section 241 reaches conspiracies designed “to dilute the value of votes of qualified voters.” It requires only an intent to prevent votes from being “given full value and effect,” an intent that includes an intent “to have false votes cast.” Evidence suggests that Trump and his supporters attempted exactly that in Georgia. They pressured local officials to somehow, some way magically “find” 11,780 additional votes to give Trump victory there and negate the votes of nearly two and a half million Georgia voters.

And it’s not just the concerted effort to eliminate the votes of 81 million Biden voters on January 6.

The recent news that Jack Smith has subpoenaed the security footage from the State Farm arena vote count location in Georgia, taken in conjunction with Trump’s efforts in places like Michigan — where his efforts focused on preventing a fair count of Detroit, where he had actually performed better than in 2016, rather than Kent County, the still predominantly white county where he lost the state — is a reminder that Trump and his mobs, many associated with overt white supremacists like Nick Fuentes, aggressively tried to thwart the counting of Black and Latino people’s votes. It was the same play Roger Stone used when he sent “election observers” to Black precincts in 2016, just on a far grander scale, and backed by the incitement of the sitting President.

As I said in the other post, we’ll see how Jack Smith charges this soon enough.

For now, I want to talk about how the press cognitively missed this — myself included. I want to talk about how the press — myself included — didn’t treat an overt effort to make it harder to count the votes of Black and Latino voters as a crime.

In its piece (including Maggie, but also a lot of people who aren’t as conflicted as she is), NYT points to both Norm Eisen (who didn’t see this, either, and whose recent prosecution memo on the charges we did expect didn’t even cite the pending decisions in the DC Circuit) and the January 6 Committee as if they are where this investigation came from.

Two of the statutes were familiar from the criminal referral by the House Jan. 6 committee and months of discussion by legal experts: conspiracy to defraud the government and obstruction of an official proceeding.


The prospect of charging Mr. Trump under the other two statutes cited in the target letter is less novel, if not without hurdles. Among other things, in its final report last year, the House committee that investigated the events that culminated in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol had recommended that the Justice Department charge the former president under both of them.

Alan Feuer (who is bylined along with Maggie) knows as well as I do, neither ConfraudUS (18 USC 371) nor obstruction (18 USC 1512(c)(2)) came from the January 6 Committee. J6C — and people like Eisen — were still looking at insurrection long after I was screaming that DOJ would use obstruction. They — and people like Eisen — still hadn’t figured out how DOJ was using obstruction even after Carl Nichols specifically raised the prospect of using it with Trump.

NYT’s discussion of the pending appeal from Thomas Robertson in the DC Circuit (in the last paragraphs of the article) is as good as you’ll see in the mainstream press. They know well the obstruction charges builds on years of work by DOJ’s prosecutors, but nevertheless point to J6C’s fairly thin referral of it, as if that, and not the charges in 300 January 6 cases already, is where it comes from.

The reason we knew DOJ would use obstruction is because DOJ has been, overtly, setting that up for years.

In its description of the unexpected mention of 241, though, NYT describes that “prosecutors have introduced a new twist.”

Federal prosecutors have introduced a new twist in the Jan. 6 investigation by suggesting in a target letter that they could charge former President Donald J. Trump with violating a civil rights statute that dates back to the post-Civil War Reconstruction era, according to three people familiar with the matter.

Again, it was a surprise to me, too. I’m not faulting the NYT for being surprised. But that doesn’t mean prosecutors “introduced a new twist,” as if this is some fucking reality show. It means journalists, myself included, either don’t know of, misinterpreted the investigative steps that DOJ has already taken, or simply didn’t see them — and I fear it’s the latter.

To be sure, in retrospect there are signs that DOJ was investigating this. In December, WaPo reported that DOJ had subpoenaed election officials in predominantly minority counties in swing states (notably, the journalists on the story were local reporters, neither Trump whisperers nor the WaPo journalists who’ve given scant coverage to the crime scene investigation).

Special counsel Jack Smith has sent grand jury subpoenas to local officials in Arizona, Michigan and Wisconsin — three states that were central to President Donald Trump’s failed plan to stay in power following the 2020 election — seeking any and all communications with Trump, his campaign, and a long list of aides and allies.

The requests for records arrived in Dane County, Wis.; Maricopa County, Ariz.; and Wayne County, Mich., late last week, and in Milwaukee on Monday, officials said. They are among the first known subpoenas issued since Smith was named last month by Attorney General Merrick Garland to oversee Trump-related aspects of the investigation of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, as well as the criminal probe of Trump’s possible mishandling of classified documents at his Florida home and private club.

The subpoenas, at least three of which are dated Nov. 22, indicate that the Justice Department is extending its examination of the circumstances leading up to the Capitol attack to include local election officials and their potential interactions with the former president and his representatives related to the 2020 election.

The virtually identical requests to Arizona and Wisconsin seek communications with Trump, in addition to employees, agents and attorneys for his campaign. Details of the Michigan subpoena, confirmed by Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, were not immediately available.


Previous subpoenas, in Arizona and other battleground states targeted by Trump, have been issued to key Republican players seen as allies in his pressure campaign to reverse the results of the 2020 election. Maricopa County, the sprawling Arizona jurisdiction that is home to Phoenix and more than half the state’s voters, was among several localities on the receiving end of that pressure.

The Post could not confirm Tuesday whether the latest round of subpoenas went to local officials in any other states. The office of the secretary of state in Pennsylvania, another 2020 contested state, declined to comment. State and local election officials in another contested state, Georgia, said they knew of no subpoenas arriving in the past week. Officials in Clark County, Nev., the sixth contested state, declined to comment.

The Arizona subpoena was addressed to Maricopa County’s elections department, while the Wisconsin versions were addressed to the Milwaukee and Dane clerks. All seek communications from June 1, 2020, through Jan. 20, 2021. [snip]

These subpoenas asked for Trump’s contacts with local election officials, in the predominantly minority counties that Democrats need to win swing states, going back to June 2020, well before the election itself. By December 2022, DOJ was taking overt steps in an investigation that even before the election Trump had plans targeting minority cities.

And there may have been a still earlier sign of this prong of the investigation, from the NYT itself. Alan Feuer (with Mike Schmidt) reported in November that prosecutors were investigating Stone’s rent-a-mob tactics, going back to 2018 but really going back to the Brooks Brothers riot in 2000, the same fucking MO Stone has adopted for decades, using threats of violence to make it harder to count brown people’s votes.

The time was 2018, the setting was southern Florida, and the election in question was for governor and a hotly contested race that would help determine who controlled the United States Senate.

Now, four years later, the Justice Department is examining whether the tactics used then served as a model for the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

In recent months, prosecutors overseeing the seditious conspiracy case of five members of the Proud Boys have expanded their investigation to examine the role that Jacob Engels — a Florida Proud Boy who accompanied Mr. Stone to Washington for Jan. 6 — played in the 2018 protests, according to a person briefed on the matter.

The prosecutors want to know whether Mr. Engels received any payments or drew up any plans for the Florida demonstration, and whether he has ties to other people connected to the Proud Boys’ activities in the run-up to the storming of the Capitol.

Different prosecutors connected to the Jan. 6 investigation have also been asking questions about efforts by Mr. Stone — a longtime adviser to Mr. Trump — to stave off a recount in the 2018 Senate race in Florida, according to other people familiar with the matter.


The 2018 demonstrations in Florida did not come close to the scale or intensity of the assault on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob, but the overlap in tactics and in those involved was striking enough to have attracted the attention of federal investigators.

Information obtained by investigators shows that some of those on the ground in 2018 called the protests “Brooks Brothers 2.0,” a reference to the so-called “Brooks Brothers riot” during a recount of the presidential vote in Florida in 2000. During that event, supporters of George W. Bush — apparently working with Mr. Stone — stormed a local government building, stopping the vote count at a crucial moment.

As I noted at the time, the NYT story ignored Stone’s 2016 efforts, but his efforts to intimidate Black voters at the polls in that year was the origin of the Stop the Steal effort that Ali Alexander was entrusted to implement in 2020 while Stone awaited his pardon.

And we know from evidence submitted at the Proud Boys trial that their role in mobs was not limited to January 6, but was instead mobilized on a moment’s notice immediately after the election.

Tarrio even indicated that he had gotten instructions from “the campaign.”

Finally, for all my complaints about the treatment of Brandon Straka, this prong may have — should have — gone back still earlier, to the belated discovery of Straka’s grift.

This investigation has been happening. It’s just that reporters — myself included — didn’t report it as such.

It’s not just the epic mob Trump mobilized on January 6, an attempt to use violence to prevent the votes of 81 million Biden voters to be counted. It was an effort that went back before that, to use threats of violence to make it harder for election workers like Ruby Freeman to count the vote in big cities populated by minorities.

One reason TV lawyers didn’t see this is they have always treated Trump’s suspected crimes as a white collar affair, plotting in the Willard, but not tasing Michael Fanone at the Capitol.

But it is also about race and visibility.

January 6 was spectacular, there for the whole world to see.

But those earlier mobs — at the TCF center in Detroit, the State Farm arena in Atlanta, Phoenix, Milwauke — those earlier mobs were also efforts to make sure certain votes weren’t counted, or if they were, were only counted after poorly paid election workers risked threats of violence to count them, after people like Ruby Freeman were targeted by Trump’s team to have their lives ruined.

And we, the press collectively, didn’t treat those efforts to disqualify votes as the same kind of crime, as part of the same conspiracy, as Trump’s more spectacular efforts on January 6.

Update: Added the campaign texts. Thanks to Brandi, who knew exactly where to find them.

Update: Ironically, Bill Barr’s testimony may be pivotal to prove that Trump targeted Detroit because of race. That’s because Barr specifically told Trump he had done better in Detroit than he did in 2016.

Trump raised “the big vote dump, as he called it, in Detroit,” Barr said. “He said ‘people saw boxes coming into the counting station at all hours of the morning’ and so forth.”

Barr said he explained to Trump that Detroit centralized its counting process at the TCF Center downtown convention hall rather than in each precinct. For the November 2020 general election, Michigan’s largest city counted its absentee ballots at the convention center under the supervision of state Bureau of Election Director Chris Thomas. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, most ballots cast were absentee.

“They’re moved to counting stations,” Barr said. “And so the normal process would involve boxes coming in at all different hours.”

“I said, ‘Did anyone point out to you … that you did better in Detroit than you did last time? There’s no indication of fraud in Detroit,” Barr said he told Trump.

Everyone in MI knows — and I’m sure Trump knows — he lost MI because he lost Kent County, which as more young people move into Grand Rapids has been getting more Democratic in recent years. That Trump targeted Detroit and not Kent (or Oakland, which has also been trending increasingly Democratic) is a testament that this was about race.

Update, 7/30: Both NAACP and ACLU recognized this in real time. Here’s ACLU’s suit.

FBI Saw Itself “Managing What the Elephant Sees and Hears” in Advance of January 6

According to a report released yesterday by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC), on January 2, 2021, then FBI Washington Field Office Assistant Director Steve D’Antuono came away from some kind of exchange with then Deputy Director David Bowdich and described to two top WFO officials, Matthew Alcoke (in charge of counterterrorism) and Jennifer Moore (in charge of intelligence) how he tried to “tamp down” concerns about or plans for January 6.

Alcoke thanked D’Antuono for “ramp[ing] down” expectations, since really all the FBI’s WFO was doing was passing on information from partners like the DC Cops and Capitol Police.

Alcoke then made a shocking suggestion about intelligence sharing:

[M]anaging what the elephant sees and hears is sometimes the best way to control the elephant’s movements.

He seems to have suggested that the FBI might manage how the Federal government would respond to January 6 by managing what kind of intelligence the FBI passed on — and his assumption was that the FBI was only passing on intelligence from partners, not collecting any of its own.

It turns out that the Federal government — that elephant Alcoke imagined he might control — didn’t respond, not adequately. In the aftermath of that shoddy response, D’Antuono claimed that the FBI had seen nothing other than First Amendment protected activity.

During a briefing with reporters on Friday, Steven D’Antuono, FBI Washington Field Office assistant director in charge, told reporters that the bureau’s threat assessments leading up to Wednesday’s mobbing of the Capitol showed “there was no indication that there was anything other than First Amendment protected activity.”

Virtually every Federal official blamed local cops and the Capitol Police, insisting the Feds weren’t supposed to be the ones moving at all, the Capitol Police were.

D’Antuono, we’ve since learned, repeatedly tried to limit the investigation in the aftermath, playing a key role in thwarting any investigation into Trump’s actions for ten months.

Manage the elephant by controlling what it sees and hears.

A day after D’Antuono and Alcoke discussed tamping or ramping down, WFO personnel sent D’Antuono, Alcoke, and Moore a summary describing the following open source intelligence:

On January 3rd, an internal WFO email marked “for FBI internal use only” cited “unsubstantiated” open-source reporting that “ranges from threats to the DC water supply to armed insurrection to various groups threatening to kill those with opposing viewpoints.”156 Among the reports cited, the email noted an open-source post regarding January 6th that said “[i]t needs to be more than a protest. We need to kick doors down and fuck shit up” and another user commented, “will kill if necessary.”157

Another social media post stated, “I’m just waiting for the 6th so I can 1776 them… January 6th we burn the place to the ground, leave nothing behind.”158

The internal FBI-WFO email noted that a tipster reported that individuals on fringe websites were discussing an overthrow of the government if President Trump did not remain in office, and stated “[d]ate of attack 01/06.”159 A Parler user stated, “[b]ring food and guns. If they don’t listen to our words, they can feel our lead. Come armed.” 160

The email also reported social media posts that noted plans to bring firearms into the District and “set up ‘armed encampment’ on the [National] Mall,” and that the Proud Boys planned to “dress ‘incognito’ in order to more effectively target ‘antifa’ in the city.”161

A tipster from Georgia told FBI that the Proud Boys were planning to come to D.C. on January 6th and warned “[t]hese men are coming for violence.” 162 Another tipster told FBI that a Proud Boy told her they were planning an attack on January 6th to shut down the government. 163

Another tip stated “there is a TikTok video with someone holding a gun saying ‘storm the Capitol on January 6th.’”164

As the HSGAC report notes, even in spite of the two warnings about the Proud Boys and threats of violence, WFO concluded that this described just First Amendment protected activities.

Despite all of that reporting, the FBI summary concluded, “FBI WFO does not have any information to suggest these events will involve anything other than [First Amendment] protected activity” and that FBI had “identified no credible or verified threat to the activities associated with 6 January 2021.”165 This was also despite the fact that the Proud Boys were known to engage in violence, including at protests in Washington, D.C. in late 2020.166

As Alcoke described, the FBI marked the summary of these warnings “Internal” because sources were sensitive about sharing it outside the FBI.

A day after discussing “tamp[ing] down” concerns with Bowdich, D’Antuono just sent this entire email to the Deputy Director.

I just sent the whole thing, I don’t want him getting a sanitized version of events.

This is a report that attempts to do what January 6 Committee largely abdicated doing, looking at intelligence failures in advance of January 6.

The House Select Committee’s final report found that President Trump engaged in a multipronged effort to overturn the 2020 election by knowingly disseminating false and fraudulent allegations, pressuring state officials to submit false elector slates, pressuring DOJ officials to make false statements alleging election fraud, and calling on supporters to join him in Washington, D.C. on January 6 th and subsequently encouraging them to march on the Capitol.23 The House Select Committee’s report largely focused on President Trump’s role in attempting to overturn the 2020 election, and only briefly discussed federal intelligence efforts in the lead-up to the events of January 6th . 24 The House Select Committee report found that intelligence agencies, including FBI and I&A, had received intelligence on the potential for violence at the Capitol.25 This intelligence included discussions of the Capitol complex’s underground tunnels alongside violent rhetoric, information on the movements of violent militia groups like the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, and numerous social media posts discussing storming the Capitol.26 The report also found that security agencies did not adequately prepare for and respond to the threat.27

At the direction of U.S. Senator Gary Peters, Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC), and following the Committee’s initial review of the security, planning, and response failures in advance of and during the January 6th attack, Majority Committee staff conducted a subsequent review focused on the intelligence failures leading up to the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6th.

What it describes is utterly damning.

Yet, in spite of a laudable effort to do what J6C didn’t do, there are obvious gaps.

First, as described, HSGAC met the same kind of stonewalling others received.

The Committee received responses to many of its questions and numerous document productions from the agencies in its investigation, including DOJ-FBI and DHS-I&A. However, at various points throughout its investigation, the Committee encountered significant delays, incomplete responses, denied document requests (including documents required to be provided to the Committee under federal law), and refusals to make certain witnesses available to the Committee for interviews. The Committee sought to obtain the necessary information through voluntary compliance by the agencies in its investigation, but this lack of full cooperation hinders the ability of the Committee, and Congress more broadly, to effectively and efficiently conduct legitimate oversight of the Executive Branch.

The Chair of HSGAC, Gary Peters, has broad subpoena power. Yet this report remains wildly inadequate to the task of cataloging FBI’s failures to prevent January 6.

Worse, there are several known intelligence problems that it doesn’t address.

For example, it doesn’t chase down warnings floated in both militia leader trials in the last eight months.

It doesn’t pursue what happened after Oath Keeper “Abdullah Rasheed” called into an FBI tip line reporting on the November 9, 2020 GoToMeeting call in which Stewart Rhodes started talking about a revolution.

Listening to the meeting was Abdullah Rasheed, a Marine Corps veteran and a member of the far-right group from West Virginia. During testimony on Thursday at the trial of Mr. Rhodes and four of his subordinates, Mr. Rasheed told the jury that he was so disturbed by what he heard during the meeting that he recorded the conversation and ultimately called the F.B.I. to alert them about Mr. Rhodes.

“The more I listened to the call,” he said, “it sounded like we were going to war against the United States government.”

The testimony by Mr. Rasheed, a heavy-equipment mechanic, was clearly intended to bolster accusations by the government that Mr. Rhodes and his co-defendants — Kelly Meggs, Kenneth Harrelson, Jessica Watkins and Thomas Caldwell — committed seditious conspiracy by using force to oppose Mr. Biden’s ascension to the White House.


On Tuesday, prosecutors at the Oath Keepers trial played several clips of Mr. Rasheed’s recording for the jury. The jurors heard Mr. Rhodes make baseless claims about foreign interference in the election and declare that he would welcome violence from leftist antifa activists because that would give Mr. Trump an excuse to invoke the Insurrection Act and call on militias like his own to quell the chaos.

“We’re not getting out of this without a fight,” Mr. Rhodes said. “There’s going to be a fight. But let’s just do it smart, and let’s do it while President Trump is still commander in chief.”

While Mr. Rasheed initially called an F.B.I. tip line to complain about Mr. Rhodes not long after the meeting took place, the bureau did not reach out to him until March 2021, two months after the Capitol was attacked. He also tried to warn other law enforcement agencies, he testified, writing to the Capitol Police that Mr. Rhodes was “a friggin’ wacko that the Oath Keepers would be better without.”

It doesn’t consider whether Shane Lamond, Enrique Tarrio’s MPD buddy who was charged in May with obstructing the investigation into Proud Boy activities in December 2020, tainted FBI’s own understanding of what would occur on January 6.

It only mentions the FBI’s own informants once, describing how FBI’s confidential human sources led the Bureau to believe the number of “protestors” on January 6 would be lower than in November and December — something any passing glance at social media would have debunked.

WFO sent an email that afternoon that appeared to rely only on its confidential human sources and other investigative leads, concluding, “[a]s of today, WFO has no information indicating a specific and credible threat. All [confidential human sources] and Guardians are not indicating anything specific and credible. Most of what WFO is seeing are random chatter with no specificity. […] WFO expects the number of participants to be fewer than the previous times – each time the numbers get smaller.”174

Most importantly, it doesn’t consider how FBI’s decision to pay a bunch of Proud Boys to inform not on the Proud Boys, but on Antifa, guaranteed that FBI would wrongly see things in terms of protestors and counter-protestors. Two witnesses testified at the Proud Boy leader trial that they were never asked to — nor would they have agreed to — inform on their buddies. Descriptions of seven other FBI informants similarly suggest the FBI had tasked a bunch of Proud Boys and friends to narc out Antifa.

If you pay a bunch of gang members to tell the FBI that their largely manufactured adversaries are the same kind of threat, rather than paying them to tell you about the attack on the Capitol the gang has planned, you have tainted your understanding of things at the outset.

And not even the behavior of those with good intelligence on the far right — those very same counter-protestors — led the FBI and DOJ to reconsider that understanding. When anti-fascists didn’t show up, DOJ concluded nothing would happened, not that the people who really did track what the far right had in mind had concluded that January 6 would be something different.

Former Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue also told the Committee that then-FBI Deputy Director Bowdich gave a briefing the morning of January 4th to Acting Attorney General Rosen and Donoghue regarding January 6th, and that while they recognized the potential for violence, they felt “relief” that counter-protesters were not expected to attend in large numbers, as there would likely not be “a situation that concerned us so much, where you would have two different political factions fighting in the streets.”324

The HSGAC Report scratches the surface of how badly FBI did in advance of January 6. It suggests that FBI affirmatively tried to prevent the Federal government from responding with due concern.

But it doesn’t begin to consider how the FBI’s own relationship with the Proud Boys, in which the Bureau deemed the militia that would lead the attack on the Capitol as partners rather than adversaries, guaranteed that the FBI would miss the attack.

DOJ Arrests Enrique Tarrio’s Cop Buddy, Shane Lamond

On Friday, DOJ arrested the DC police lieutenant, Shane Lamond, whom Enrique Tarrio repeatedly used during trial in an attempt to claim he had cooperated with police and therefore hadn’t planned a seditious attack on the Capitol.

The indictment charges Lamond with one count of obstructing the investigation into the Proud Boys’ burning of the Black Lives Matter flag in December 2020, and three counts of lying in an June 2, 2021 interview when he claimed:

  • Lamond’s relationship consisted of just receiving tips from Tarrio instead of him providing confidential information to him
  • He never tipped Tarrio off to details of the BLM investigation
  • He didn’t provide Tarrio advance notice of the warrant for his arrest obtained on December 30, 2020

The case is largely built off Telegram communications obtained from Tarrio’s seized phone (which, remember, took a year to exploit, in part because Tarrio had good security for it).

One of the eye-popping details in the indictment is that of 147 Telegram texts Lamond and Tarrio exchanged between December 18 (when Tarrio took the blame for burning the BLM flag — though he’s not actually the one who burned it) and January 4, when he was arrested, 101 of their Telegram messages were auto-destructed.

Between December 18, 2020, and through at least January 4, 2021, LAMOND and Tarrio used Telegram to exchange approximately 145 messages using the secret chat function, utilizing end-to-end encryption and self-destruct timers. At least 101 of these messages were destroyed.

DOJ established what these texts said in significant part based on what Tarrio then told others about his communications with Lamond.

The case is largely built off the Telegram messages that would have been found on Tarrio’s phone when it was seized in January 4.

But not entirely.

Paragraphs 53 to 64 rely on Telegram texts sent after Tarrio’s arrest — and so must come from some other phone (possibly the one he borrowed after his arrest). They substantially pertain to January 6. I believe the March 16 grand jury that returned the indictment is the one that has been focused on January 6 cases.

That section includes language establishing that the investigation into the Proud Boys continues and Lamond knew of the investigation into the Proud Boys by January 7.

56. By January 7, 2021, LAMOND was aware of the Federal Investigation.

57. As part of the Federal Investigation, beginning on January 6, 2021, and continuing to the present, the FBI and USAO investigated and continue to investigate Tarrio’s, the Proud Boys”, and their associates’ participation in and planning for the January 6 Attack.

This is the kind of language that DOJ would use to lay out obstruction of a second investigation, the January 6 one. Given that the investigation is ongoing, it could put Lamond on the hook for ongoing obstruction of the investigation.

Yet they didn’t charge him for that, even though they describe that he told a lie about tipping off Tarrio to details about the January 6 investigation, in addition to tipping him off about the BLM investigation.

71. During the interview, LAMOND misleadingly stated that he had “one or two” conversations with Tarrio on January 6, 2021, or the day after, and that Tarrio had told LAMOND that Tarrio believed he could have stopped the January 6 Attack.

72. LAMOND did not disclose that Tarrio had identified to LAMOND an associate who was present at the U.S. Capitol on January 6 or that Tarrio had previously made comments about attending events in Washington, D.C. on January 6.

With no additional work, DOJ could charge Lamond with this lie too, and with it, obstructing a second investigation.

In other words, this looks like an opening gambit, one that invites Lamond to start cooperating in the January 6 investigation or risk being added to a conspiracy with a guy who just got convicted of sedition.

I’ve argued for years that a number of other investigative steps in the January 6 investigation were awaiting the Proud Boys trial and verdict.

Lamond’s prosecution is one of those things. And this indictment was structured to be an investigative indictment.

Update: Here’s a list of all the people IDed in this indictment.

Person 1: Someone whom Tarrio told on December 30, 2020, that, per his “contact,” the DA of DC had not yet signed his arrest warrant.

Person 2: Someone on MOSD who asked if Tarrio’s arrest would happen on January 6. (This should be available in the threads released at trial).

Person 3: An official with the Capitol Police Department whom Lamond likened hate crimes with political crimes.

Person 4: Another personal contact of Tarrio’s, he explained on January 1 that “he says that he doesn’t think they’re going to sign off on it.”

Person 5: Possibly a girlfriend of Tarrio’s. After he tells the person, “warrant was just signed,” she says, “Babe :/”

Person 6: Almost certainly Alex Jones, Lamond describes that it’s “fucking bad when Person 6 was the voice of reason and they wouldn’t listen to him.” Lamond parrots Jones’ cover story.

Person 7: After MD cops visited her house on January 6, Tarrio asked Lamond if she was on the suspect list.

How the Proud Boy Conspiracy Might Network Out in the Wake of the Seditious Conspiracy Verdict

Since at least August 2021, I have emphasized the import of the Proud Boys conspiracy because of the way Joe Biggs (and, I’d add, Enrique Tarrio) served as a nexus between the attack on the Capitol and the people who orchestrated the attack on the Capitol.

Because of Joe Biggs’ role at the nexus between the mob that attacked Congress and those that orchestrated the mob, his prosecution is the most important case in the entire January 6 investigation. If you prosecute him and his alleged co-conspirators successfully, you might also succeed in holding those who incited the attack on the Capitol accountable. If you botch the Biggs prosecution, then all the most important people will go free.

The point was echoed by Tarrio in a Gateway Pundit appearance after closing arguments, in which he called himself, “the next stepping stone.” And in a comment during closing arguments for which prosecutors got a curative instruction, Norm Pattis (the lawyer Biggs shares with Alex Jones) said, “this case will have impact on [the government’s] charging decisions in other cases.”

This post will explain how the Proud Boys seditious conspiracy verdict might network out, to other Proud Boys, in the weeks ahead. A follow-up will explain how it might network up.

The split verdict

Yesterday, a jury found Biggs and Tarrio guilty of all charges against them save two assaults charged under a co-conspirator liability theory: the one Dominic Pezzola committed in stealing the riot shield that he would then use to make the first breach of the building, and the one for throwing a water bottle for which Charles Donohoe, whose absence from the trial seems to have befuddled the jury, already pled guilty.

The sedition verdicts against Biggs, Tarrio, Ethan Nordean and Zach Rehl are the showy news result, but Pezzola’s fate may prove just as instructive for what this verdict means for others. In addition to charges for assaulting that cop, robbing his shield, and breaking the window, Pezzola was found guilty of obstructing the vote certification, but not conspiring with the others to do that (on which the jury hung) or to seditiously attack the government (on which the jury came back with a not guilty verdict).

Pezzola was found guilty of conspiring with the others to impede either cops or members of Congress from doing their duty, a conspiracy that carries a six year sentence rather than the twenty year max sentences the two other conspiracies carry. The government used that 18 USC 372 charge in this case and in the Oath Keepers’ case. As I’ve noted, it was only otherwise used to charge the men who attacked Brian Sicknick, though the conspiracy charge was ultimately dropped in guilty pleas. Using a slightly different description of the object of the conspiracy, all four members of the second Oath Keeper sedition group were found guilty of it (but then, they were found guilty of pretty much everything), three members of Rhodes sedition group were convicted of it (but not Rhodes or Thomas Caldwell), and four of six defendants in the lesser Oath Keeper conspiracy were convicted of it.

The Pezzola verdict may reflect his own testimony: He took the stand and claimed credit for his own assault, which he said had nothing to do with the other defendants, but tried to claim self-defense. (Here’s Brandi’s post on his testimony.) The jury seems to have believed that he had not agreed to enter into the two conspiracies — sedition and obstruction — that largely took form on Telegram threads he was not yet on, but their 372 verdict suggests they found he did agree on the day of the attack to work with the Proud Boys to chase Congress away from their job. I suspect that outcome may have relied on his willingness to take the stand.

In this split verdict, Pezzola’s outcome is pretty similar to that of Oath Keeper Kenneth Harrelson, who was convicted of the 372  conspiracy but not the sedition or obstruction conspiracies. Like Pezzola, he was convicted of obstruction individually.

In other words, most members of both militias were found guilty, not just of obstructing the vote certification, but of doing things to chase Congress out of their chambers, thereby preventing from doing their job. On that latter act — impeding Congress from doing their job — four separate juries have found more evidence to support a conspiracy than on obstruction.

The government may use these collective results to — as Tarrio and Pattis predicted — make further prosecutorial decisions.

The Proud Boy tools

As Brandi and I have both explained, prosecutors won a guilty verdict in this case by arguing that the Proud Boy leaders used others as “tools” of their conspiracy.

In response to a series of rulings, the theory evolved into a co-conspirator liability, with each “tool” presented at trial first premised — as Tim Kelly described in an order he released just before the initial  verdict — on the government’s proffer of their involvement based on some combination of a prior tie to the Proud Boys, participation on the chats in advance, and marching with the Proud Boys from the start on January 6. Judge Kelly did exclude some of the people the government had asked to include, marked by cross-outs below:

William Pepe; Christopher Worrell; Barry Ramey; Daniel Lyons Scott; Trevor McDonald; Marc Bru; Gilbert Fonticoba; Ronald Loehrke and James Haffner; Nicholas Ochs; Gabriel Garcia; Paul Rae; Barton Shively; a group that included A.J. Fischer, Dion Rajewski, Zach Johnson, Brian Boele, and James Brett; and another group that included Arthur Jackman, Nate and Kevin Tuck, and Eddie George.

But for the rest, Kelly issued a ruling finding the men participated in the attack launched on the Capitol as Proud Boys. It’s an important ruling not just because it helped prosecutors to prove the Proud Boy Leaders used force even without, themselves, having assaulted anyone, but because it used participation in the Proud Boys attack as an element of conspiracy in a way that does not depend on First Amendment protected membership in the militia. They were found to be tools of this conspiracy not because they were Proud Boys, but because of things they did as Proud Boys.

It is probably not a coincidence that the cases against many of these men have been languishing as prosecutors focused on the Leader conspiracy. The current status of the prosecution of those Kelly did include is as follows:

Nicholas Ochs (who did not march with the Proud Boys on January 6): Currently serving a four-year sentence for obstruction.

Dan Scott: Awaiting sentencing on obstruction and assault charges.

Christopher Worrell: Bench Trial for obstruction, civil disorder, and assault paused; due to resume May 11.

Gabriel Garcia: After Garcia got caught hob-nobbing with Matt Gaetz and Ivan Raiklin in violation of pretrial release, his then lawyer parted ways with him. He is scheduled to face trial on obstruction, civil disorder, and trespassing charges in August.

William Pepe: Currently the sole remaining defendant on a conspiracy, obstruction, and civil disorder indictment in which Pezzola and cooperating witness Matthew Greene were originally charged. His attorney, William Shipley, is trying to delay trial until the fall; he has a status conference before Judge Kelly today. Update: They extended this case to July 11 today.

Trevor McDonald: Trevor McDonald has not been publicly charged.

Marc Bru: Bru is scheduled for a Bench Trial on obstruction and civil disorder charges in July.

Gilbert Fonticoba: Fonticoba faces trial on obstruction and civil disorder charges in October.

Ronald Loehrke and James Haffner: Loehrke and Haffner remain charged by complaint, facing civil disorder and trespass charges, with an assault charge against Haffner. They have a status hearing scheduled May 9.

Paul Rae, Arthur Jackman, Nate and Kevin Tuck, and Eddie George: Joe Biggs’ co-travelers currently face charges including obstruction and — for some — civil disorder, assault, and theft. This case has been dawdling over conflict proceedings involving John Pierce. Two long-term loaner AUSAs, Christopher Veatch and Nadia Moore (the latter of whom delivered the rebuttal argument in the Proud Boy leader trial), dropped off the case after closing arguments in the Proud Boy Leaders trial, perhaps freeing them to return to their homes after two years of work. This case is bound to take on new form in the status hearing before Tim Kelly scheduled today. Update: In the status conference, they continued this case to July 11. This morning, Proud Boy Leader prosecutor Jason McCullough filed his appearance.

AJ Fischer and Zach Johnson: Fischer and Johnson are charged along with non-Proud Boys who were part of the Tunnel assault with civil disorder and, for the two Proud Boys, assault. The indictment was charged under the Major Conspiracy section and may reflect cooperation between militias. The defendants have a July status hearing. As she did in the Biggs co-traveler case, Moore dropped off this case after delivering closing arguments.

For all the named “tools,” a judge has found that they followed Biggs and Nordean on the day of the attack. Like Pezzola, it would not be a stretch to argue they entered into a conspiracy to impede the cops and members of Congress. For all but Ochs, Scott, and Worrell, the government could supersede the charges against the men to incorporate evidence presented in the Proud Boy Leaders trial.

Two other Proud Boy groups may be affected by this trial.

Rehl’s co-travelers: Three of the guys that Rehl recruited to join the Proud Boys on January 6 were charged in December 2021: Isaiah Giddings, Brian Healion, and Freedom Vy. Giddings pled guilty to the more serious trespassing charge in January, but his statement of offense was somewhat discredited by belatedly-discovered evidence presented at trial that Rehl had not just wanted to get a can of pepper spray to use on cops on January 6, but had done so. Healion and Vy are still awaiting indictment. Rehl’s testimony at trial — particularly the evidence that he may have assaulted a cop — may make it easier to charge them with felonies.

The KC cell: Like many other Proud Boy cases, the prosecution of the Kansas City cell — one of the few others charged as conspiracy from the start — has been languishing during the Proud Boy leaders trial, even in spite of the fact that there is a cooperating witness, Enrique Colon, and one who proffered but was unwilling to testify against his co-conspirators, Ryan Ashlock. There’s a likely additional reason this case has languished, to say nothing of the fact that prosecutors didn’t include this cell — not even cell leader Billy Chrestman — in their tools theory: the participation of an FBI informant, who testified under the name “Ehren,” in their cell, setting up the possibility that those defendants could claim their actions were incited by the government. More than any other set of Proud Boy defendants, however, the Leader trial likely harmed this group, because during “Ehren’s” testimony, he made it clear that he did what he did that day — including helping to prevent the police from closing the gates to the tunnels — of his own accord. Here’s how Brandi described it:

Following suboptimal testimony from Tarrio’s witnesses this week, defendant Ethan Nordean squeezed in witness testimony from an FBI confidential human source and Proud Boy who appeared in court using only his middle name, “Ehren.”

Unfortunately for the defense, “Ehren,” testified under cross-examination that he was not at the Capitol on Jan. 6 as an FBI informant in any meaningful sense. He was there, he affirmed, as a member of the Proud Boys. Though the spelling of his name was not reported into the record, “Ehren” would appear to be the individual that Jan. 6 internet sleuths have identified as “TrackSuitPB.”

In video footage, jurors could see how “Ehren” entered the Capitol carrying zip tie cuffs he said he acquired incidentally as a memento of sorts. At another point, he appears in capitol CCTV  footage flanked by Kansas City Proud Boys like William “Billy” Chrestman, Chris Kuehne, and others, as he helps place a podium under an interior electric gate to keep it from closing while others set chairs in the way. Police are seen working over and over to drop the barrier as rioters advanced.

Poking holes in the defense’s direct and indirect suggestions over these many weeks of trial that the FBI was responsible for guiding the violence of Jan. 6, “Ehren” admitted he wasn’t instructed by the bureau to obstruct the gate. Or enter the Capitol. Or impede police. In hindsight, he admitted, he shouldn’t have helped prop open gates police were trying to lower at all.

While he testified, evidence was also presented to strongly support the government’s claim that he was playing up the “informing” he offered to the FBI.

“Ehren” texted his handler on Jan. 6 at 1:02 p.m. ET just as barriers were overrun: “Pb did not do it, nor inspire. The crowd did as a herd mentality. Not organized. Barriers down at capital [sic] building crowd surged forward, almost to the building now.”

During his interviews with the FBI in the summer of 2021, he claimed he was standing 100 people back from the front of the first breach. In court, however, footage showed him more like 20 or 30 people back. He was also close to defendant Zachary Rehl at one point as Rehl filmed from the fore of the crowd.

Note that Ethan Nordean’s attorney, Nick Smith, called Ehren to give this fairly counterproductive testimony. Smith also represents two of the defendants in the KC Cell, siblings Corey and Felicia. They have a status hearing scheduled before Tim Kelly on May 16. As he did on the Biggs’ co-traveler case, Veatch dropped off this case after the Leaders closing arguments.

Altogether, there are 19 people already charged (the 17 tools less Ochs, Scott, Worrell, and McDonald, plus two Rehl co-travelers and the four remaining KC defendants), plus McDonald and a few others otherwise treated as co-conspirators, who might face superseding charges or — at the very least — a more damning set of evidence based on trial testimony presented at the Proud Boy Leader case. Prosecutors may take the Pezzola verdict as a gauge of what a jury will find convincing, including that the larger Proud Boys group conspired to impede the police and Congress on January 6. That may not only expose some of these defendants to one or more additional felonies, but lay out how a networked conspiracy worked to assault the Capitol on January 6.

Update: According to this Vice News interview with one of the jurors, one reason they didn’t convict Pezz on sedition is bc he “may not have been bright enough to really know about the plan.”

Dominic Pezzola, “Spazzo”, was acquitted on seditious conspiracy. What was the difference there? Why was he acquitted when the others were found guilty? 

Well, he wasn’t in leadership for one. And he only joined the Proud Boys in November or December of 2020.  So he didn’t have a whole lot of time before Jan. 6. They have the different tiers you know, level 1 to level 4. Spazz was a 2 or 3 and on a fast track because he was so expressive of being a bad boy. We actually deadlocked on Spazz at first. But we got through that and said not guilty. Another factor was just that he wasn’t the brightest bulb on the porch. And may not have been bright enough to really know about the plan. So I said, well, poor guy.  He should’ve listened to his father-in-law, who told him “don’t go.”

The juror’s testimony about the demeanor of Pezzola and Rehl in their testimony closely matches what Brandi found.