Four leaders of the pro-Trump extremist group ‘Proud Boys’ have been indicted by a federal grand jury in Washington, DC, for conspiracy and other charges related to the siege of the US Capitol, according to CNN. The indictment adds two defendants to a criminal case already open against Proud Boys Seattle leader Ethan Nordean and Florida Proud Boys event organizer Joseph Biggs.
In the indictment made public on Friday, prosecutors allege that Zachary Rehl, 35, of Philadelphia, and Charles Donohoe, 33, of North Carolina, worked as local Proud Boys chapter leaders alongside Biggs and Nordean to prepare paramilitary and high-tech communications equipment, raise funds and encourage their right-wing group members to come to Washington.
Prosecutors also revealed more of what they’ve learned about the group’s encrypted communications and their attempts to avoid detection.
Authorities say they switched channels for encrypted messaging among themselves leading up to the pro-Trump rally and storming of the Capitol, and that the four men each posted on social media and in encrypted chats about their pride in taking part in the siege afterward.
“I’m proud as f**k what we accomplished yesterday, but we need to start planning and we are starting planning, for a Biden presidency,” Rehl said in a message after the siege, prosecutors say, CNN reports.
Further court proceedings for Nordean and Donohoe are set for next week. Nordean and Biggs have been released from jail pending trial.
More than a dozen Proud Boys — including several other leaders among the group — have now been charged in various conspiracy and riot-related cases following the insurrection.
The Justice Department has made clear that unraveling the group’s coordination and disrupting possible politically motivated violence in the future is a priority in the nearly unprecedented domestic terrorism probe.