Video released of Proud Boys and Oath Keepers executives garage meeting

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Defense attorneys for longtime Proud Boys leader Henry “Enrique” Tarrio and U.S. prosecutors released 22 minutes of video on Tuesday that recorded his movements in Washington, D.C., on the eve of the attack on the U.S. Capitol. January 6, 2021, including his meeting in an underground car park with Stewart Rhodes, founder of the extremist group Oath Keepers.

The existence of the video and the interest of FBI and House investigators in it have been previously reported – including in Tarrio’s March indictment for conspiracy to attack Congress that day. there – but excerpts from the recording have not been made public.

They show Tarrio smoking cigarettes, saying he’s worried about being arrested by the police and eager to get out of town, but lingering at the Hall of the States garage near Capitol Hill to shake hands and talk to Rhodes and Rhodes’ attorney. Also present at the garage meeting were the leaders of two right-wing pro-Trump groups: Joshua Macias, scheduled speaker the following day, and Bianca Gracia, organizer of the January 6 event linked to the White House.

“I feel like a fugitive,” Tarrio says as he is driven underground to avoid being seen at street level, according to the video. “I will stay close [to D.C.] just to make sure my guys are okay tomorrow. I have a lot of things to do tomorrow,” he adds later.

The video was recorded by a documentary team embedded with the Proud Boys and released six clips – one by the government and five by the defence. The video begins with Tarrio being released from DC prison. Tarrio had been arrested days earlier by DC police for a separate incident — the burning of a stolen Black Lives Matter banner from a DC church in December 2020 after another pro-Trump rally — and ordered to leave the city ​​before pleading guilty and completing a four-month prison term earlier this year.

The new videos were released by U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Kelly as part of Tarrio’s ongoing efforts to secure bail in his separate Jan. 6-related lawsuit. The move comes at a delicate time in the case, as the scheduled August 8 trial date could slip for Tarrio and four co-defendants believed to be his top aides.

On Tuesday, Kelly walked out of a closed hearing saying co-defendant Dominic J. Pezzola — who pleaded not guilty to smashing the Capitol’s front window using a stolen police riot shield — wanted change lawyers. Prosecutors wanted Tarrio and Pezzola to stand trial with the others, citing their respective “central” and “determining” roles in the case.

Separately, prosecutors said they could indict multiple additional defendants, add charges, or do both in Tarrio’s case, based in part on his additional devices that were seized in March. But the Friday deadline by which prosecutors said they planned to act passed without incident. A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office declined to comment on Tuesday whether that meant additional charges weren’t on the table, citing grand jury business secrecy.

Longtime Proud Boys frontman Enrique Tarrio charged with conspiracy in Jan. 6 Capitol attack

In Tarrio’s indictment, prosecutors pointed to his meeting with Rhodes and others “known and unknown to the grand jury,” adding that during the 30-minute encounter, “one participant made reference at the Capitol. Prosecutor Jason McCullough said the video showed Tarrio “getting nervous” to restore secure communications and “command and control” of the men he selected who were talking about “storming the Capitol.”

During a bond hearing on May 18, Tarrio’s lawyer, Nayib Hassan, said the video shows that it was an associate and not Tarrio who asked to be returned to the hotel, and that Tarrio met Rhodes coincidentally while looking for a lawyer to represent him.

“I just need to talk to him. This guy has a good lawyer, and he was a 2A [Second Amendment] lawyer who got this guy out,” Tarrio says to the camera as he enters the garage, without giving further details.

Rhodes pleaded not guilty to a separate indictment to conspiring with members of his group to forcibly oppose President Biden’s inauguration.

Analysis | Who did the Oath Keepers call on January 6 when trying to reach Trump?

The video shows a female associate waving to Tarrio after collecting his belongings from police. The woman, a photographer who follows the Proud Boys, calls to arrange an urgent meeting with Rhodes’ friend, Kellye SoRelle, an attorney for the Oath Keepers, who was at the same Phoenix Park Hotel as the photographer. Tarrio suggests they meet in person.

While Tarrio showed up on camera in Rhodes and SoRelle, the film crew were asked to step away and did not record any substantive discussions between Oath Keepers and Proud Boys officials in clips. made public.

The video captures more conversation between Tarrio and the leaders of two other right-wing pro-Trump groups: Macias, co-founder of Vets for Trump, and Gracia, a longtime friend of Tarrio’s and leader of Latinos for Trump, an event of January 6 organizer.

Hours before his flag burning on Dec. 12, Tarrio — who also served as Trump’s Latino chief of staff — Gracia and other members of the group toured the White House. A White House spokesperson later described the visit as a public visit and said Tarrio had not met with Trump. Gracia previously posted a photo on social media of Tarrio meeting Donald Trump Jr. and his girlfriend and campaign adviser Kimberly Guilfoyle.

In the Jan. 5 video, Gracia insists Tarrio’s presence is needed the next day and attempts to give him cards on lanyards — “You need to be here tomorrow” — before repeatedly warning that his comms with them must be kept secret from the law. -enforcement.

Gracia said she and her group vice president removed Tarrio from an unspecified text messaging chain, believing his phone had been compromised by police during his arrest because someone else had texted to Tarrio and got “checkmarks like you read it, and we knew it wasn’t you.

“I deleted you for now, because I didn’t know if they were uploading s— or whatever. … Ozzy says get a new sim card and you can get a new phone before to contact anyone,” Gracia said, apparently referring to Ozzy Perez-Cerezal, Vice President of Latinos for Trump and a member of a Miami Proud Boys chapter Tarrio founded.

Tarrio said police kept his phone and laptop, but assured Gracia that the latter did not contain any potentially sensitive information and that the former had been “removed” of sensitive content by him prior to his arrest or was not not accessible without two-step verification. He explained that he was under a court order to leave town, but intended to spend the night in Maryland where “a lot of my guys are” before flying back to Miami, confirming: “I have a lot of things to do tomorrow”.

“I need a communication device. … I can connect with my thing on your phone and type some text,” Tarrio says in some of his first remarks to the photographer in an early clip of the video. As he is being driven to Maryland later that evening and shortly before the end of the video, he repeats to the photographer, “I need access to my telegram, that’s why I need from your phone.”

It was not immediately clear whether the released video clips contained the reference to a Capitol attendee, as alleged in Tarrio’s indictment. A clip taken after Tarrio asked for space to speak to SoRelle records attendees who spoke within earshot of Tarrio’s conversation, though his words were inaudible. In the second group, whose faces have not been shown, a woman refers to “the great reset” and adds, “I need Trump to do the right thing.” A man who accompanied Rhodes to the meeting replies: “It’s inevitable what happens. We just have to do it as a team together, strong, hard and fast.