Attorneys representing members of the far-right Proud Boys militia in their defense cases surrounding the January 6 Capitol riot have notified the court that they intend to issue a subpoena to former President Donald Trump.
Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio and four other members have been charged with sedition and orchestrating the violence that occurred on January 6 — a charge they believe should be brought against Trump.
“Donald Trump called on patriots to stop the steal. We’re calling on Donald Trump to take the stand,” said Norm Pattis, an attorney for one of the defendants.
The Proud Boys have been accused of being key plotters before and during the riot, helping to breach critical police barricades and the building itself.
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One of the defendants, Proud Boy Jeremy Bertino said, “We failed. The House is meeting again…” after the violence was under control, according to messages presented by the prosecution team.
Evidence of Tarrio’s alleged relationship with a D.C. police officer was also presented by the prosecution – the Proud Boys leader was given inside information about police procedures just days before the riot took place.
It is unclear if Trump is likely to be forced to testify. Other defendants in similar January 6 related charges have tried and failed to subpoena Trump, but the Proud Boys believe they have a potentially stronger case. They argue that Trump specifically incited the Proud Boys in a 2020 presidential debate when he said, “Proud Boys, stand back, stand by.”
Trump’s comments brought national attention to the Proud Boys, and their membership soared in the days following the debate.
The Proud Boys were founded in 2016 by far-right commentator Gavin McGuinness and have been a source of right-wing political violence ever since.
Before the January 6 insurrection, the Proud Boys were best known for being instigators of the Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally.
The organization often holds Black Lives Matter counterprotests and has incited numerous clashes between the two groups. Some Proud Boys members have also started protesting LGBT events.
The Proud Boys trial comes just weeks after two leaders of the Oath Keepers, another far-right militia group, were convicted for their role in the January 6 insurrection.
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