A leader of the Proud Boys, charged alongside the group’s national chair Enrique Tarrio, pleaded guilty Friday to a conspiracy to obstruct Congress during the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol.
Charles Donohoe, the leader of a North Carolina chapter of the group, reached a plea deal with the government that includes cooperation with prosecutors, a potentially pivotal victory for the Justice Department in one of the most significant cases to emerge from the Jan. 6 insurrection.
Donohoe was among a handful of Proud Boys leaders who helped organize the group’s large presence in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, 2021. He helped set up the communications channels they used to coordinate their activities and helped scramble to create new ones when Tarrio was arrested on Jan. 4, 2021, on unrelated charges.
Prosecutors also said Donohoe provided specialty radios to members of the group so they could communicate during the Capitol attack and that he also urged the group’s members to “nuke” a set of Telegram messages to avoid detection. Donohoe also raised concerns in one of those messages about the possibility of “gang charges,” after Tarrio’s arrest.
Donohoe approached the Capitol in one of the earliest waves to reach the building on Jan. 6 alongside others charged in the conspiracy, including Ethan Nordean, Joseph Biggs and Zachary Rehl. He helped another Proud Boy, Dominic Pezzola, carry a stolen police riot shield to the foot of the building. Pezzola would later use that shield to smash a Senate wing window that led to the first breach of the Capitol building that day.
Donohoe’s plea is one of the most significant developments in prosecutors’ 15-month investigation of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, which has netted about 800 arrests and spawned a nationwide manhunt for more than 2,000 potential members of the Jan. 6 mob.
The Proud Boys case is one of a handful focused on the work of extremist groups that prosecutors say pre-planned their efforts to interfere with the transfer of power in service of keeping then-President Donald Trump in power. Prosecutors have also charged about 20 members of the Oath Keepers with mounting a similar conspiracy to obstruct Congress — and 11 members of that group are also facing even graver seditious conspiracy charges, alleging that they prepared for violence that day.
The other Proud Boys leaders are slated to go on trial in August.
The post Proud Boys leader pleads guilty to role in Jan. 6 conspiracy appeared first on Politico.