Members of the far-right Proud Boys had planned to assassinate Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi during last week’s violent storming of the U.S. Capitol by a mob of Trump supporters, the FBI said, citing a witness with knowledge of the plot.
The revelation came in an affidavit filed Wednesday by the FBI as part of a criminal complaint against 43-year-old Dominic Pezzola, of Rochester, New York, who is accused of taking part in the riot in support of President Donald Trump’s false claims that the presidential election was “stolen.” An FBI witness said that the group Pezzola was with had discussed committing violent acts that went far beyond property damage (read affidavit below).
“[The witness] stated that other members of the group talked about things that they had done during the day, and they said that anyone they got their hands on they would have killed, including Nancy Pelosi,” the affidavit reads. “[The witness] further stated that members of this group, which included ‘Spaz,’ said that they would have killed [Vice President] Mike Pence if given the chance.”
“The group said it would be returning on the ’20th,’ which your affiant takes to mean the Presidential Inauguration scheduled for January 20, 2021,” it continues. “And that they plan to kill every single ‘m-fer’ they can. [The witness] stated the men said they all had firearms or access to firearms.”
Pezzola was arrested Friday and charged with obstruction of an official proceeding, destruction of government property and unlawfully entering a restricted building or grounds, with the possibility of additional charges to come. He could potentially face 20 years in prison if convicted.
Court documents reference a video of Pezzola and associates after the building was breached. Pezzola is pictured with a cigar celebrating a “victory smoke in the Capitol” while describing the breach as “f*cking awesome.” The documents also note that Pezzola describes himself as a “Marine vet / boxer / patriot/ Proud Boy 2nd°” in a profile on the Telegram messaging app.
Several members of the Proud Boys have been identified as part of the violent mob that took part in the riot at the Capitol that left five people dead and dozens injured.
The far-right group gained particular notoriety last September when Donald Trump urged them to “stand back and stand by” while refusing to directly repudiate white supremacist and militia groups during a presidential debate.
Read a portion of the affidavit below: