The most important convictions in the January 6 insurrection trials are done-at least, they’re almost done. Enrique Tarrio, Dominic Pezzola, Zachary Rehl, Joseph Biggs, and Ethan Nordean have all been found guilty of federal crimes, the worst of which is seditious conspiracy. Pezzola has not yet been convicted on the conspiracy charges, but he has been convicted on other charges. ABC News broke down the charges: in addition to the seditious conspiracy charges, Tarrio, Nordean, Rehl, and Biggs were also convicted of “conspiracy to disrupt the certification of the 2020 election, actual obstruction of the certification, conspiracy to prevent officers from performing their duties, obstruction of law enforcement during civil disorder, and aiding and abetting in destruction of government property.” They were acquitted of assault, impeding, and resisting officers, not that it matters with the seditious conspiracy convictions. They could reportedly get up to 20 years in prison.
Michael McDaniel, Director of Homeland Law at Cooley Law School told Business Insider: “To me, this is a textbook case. It was the fact that they were smashing windows, pouring into the Capitol, at exactly the time that the Senate is counting, under election Control Act, they’re counting the ballots of the electors from each state. That’s what made this so egregious to me and made it seem seditious to me from the beginning.” The jury agreed, based on the evidence presented by the prosecutors in the case. Lending credence to the notion that the prosecutors did a great job, McDaniel also said that seditious conspiracy is “tough to prove” because four elements are required: agreement to act, criminality, illegality, and knowing these things and participating anyway. These members now join the ranks of Oath Keepers Elmer Stewart Rhodes and Kelly Meggs, who were convicted of seditious conspiracy in November.
Can Donald Trump be far behind them? Not if you ask the lead prosecutor of this case. In his closing statement, he referred to the Proud Boys as “Donald Trump’s army,” CNN reported. Who can ever forget Trump’s rallying cry to them to “stand back and stand by?” That’s exactly what they did, and they did it on Trump’s orders. Hopefully, it was worth it to them.
Convicting Tarrio was the biggest victory of all for the DOJ. He wasn’t even at the Capitol at the time of the riot, as he was already in jail. Regardless, he was seen as an integral part of the Proud Boys and was directly involved in their plans to create chaos. In their minds, they could stop President Biden from taking office. As AP reported, this conviction could embolden prosecutors and may well play into Jack Smith’s investigation of Trump. Clearly, Smith is investigating this matter as it relates to Donald Trump’s incitement. He has been issuing subpoenas to those close to Trump, and last week, Mike Pence finally testified before the grand jury. This gives prosecutors a first-hand account of what happened that day, including Trump’s conversations with those closest to him. We’ll see how all this plays out as far as Smith’s ongoing investigations, but it isn’t looking good for Trump.
Shirley is a former entertainment writer and has worked in the legal field for over 25 years