Former Proud Boys Leaders Sentenced for Capitol Breach Ethan Nordean and Dominic Pezzola receive prison sentences for their roles in U.S. Capitol breach on January 6, 2021

Two former leaders of the Proud Boys organization faced sentencing today, marked by multiple felony charges stemming from their involvement in the breach of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.

This notorious event disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress, which was convened to certify the electoral votes essential for confirming the 2020 presidential election.

Ethan Nordean’s Sentence

Ethan Nordean, a 32-year-old from Auburn, Washington, received a sentence of 18 years in prison and 36 months of supervised release.

Dominic Pezzola’s Sentence

Dominic Pezzola, a 45-year-old from Rochester, New York, was sentenced to 10 years in prison, coupled with 36 months of supervised release.

Convictions and Charges

On May 4, a jury found Nordean, Pezzola, and three other co-defendants guilty of multiple felonies. These charges included obstruction of an official proceeding and a conspiracy aimed at obstructing Congress members and federal officers from fulfilling their duties both before and during the Capitol breach on January 6, 2021. Nordean had also been previously convicted of seditious conspiracy.

Role of the Proud Boys Organization

Court documents and trial evidence showcased the Proud Boys organization’s substantial and often violent involvement in rallies held in Washington, D.C., during November and December 2020. In the aftermath of these events, Nordean and other co-defendants assumed roles within a special chapter of the Proud Boys known as the “Ministry of Self Defense.”

Conspiracy and Opposition to Government Authority

Beginning after December 19, 2020, Nordean, Pezzola, and other co-defendants conspired to obstruct, hinder, and delay the certification of the Electoral College vote. Their objective was to oppose the authority of the United States government through the use of force.

Planning the Attack

In the days leading up to January 6, Nordean and other Ministry of Self-Defense leaders carefully selected co-defendant Pezzola and others, referred to as “rally boys,” to participate in the Capitol attack. They established a chain of command, determined the timing and location of their assault, and actively recruited individuals willing to follow their hierarchical leadership and engage in physical violence if necessary.

Capitol Breach

On January 6, Nordean, Pezzola, and the individuals they recruited played pivotal roles in every significant breach at the Capitol. They directed, mobilized, and led a group of Proud Boys, which resulted in the dismantling of metal barricades, property destruction, Capitol building breaches, and assaults on law enforcement.

Timeline of the Assault

The assault began at 10:00 a.m., when Nordean and others led an assembled group of nearly 200 individuals away from speeches at the Ellipse, moving them directly toward the Capitol. They reached the First Street gate at 12:50 p.m. Subsequently, Nordean, Pezzola, and their co-defendants breached multiple barricades and tore down fencing.

Around an hour later, when law enforcement seemed to have regained control by pushing the crowd back, the men once again advanced. At the base of the concrete stairs leading to Capitol doors and windows, Nordean, Pezzola, and their cohorts, along with other followers they had led to the Capitol, surged forward. The group overwhelmed officers who had been grappling with the crowd for nearly an hour, and Pezzola smashed open a window, allowing the first rioters to enter the Capitol at 2:11 p.m.

Terrorism Enhancement and Prosecution Details

During the hearing, U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Kelly applied a federal crime of terrorism enhancement to the defendants’ convictions for destruction of government property. The prosecution of this case was conducted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section, and Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section.

Investigation and Nationwide Impact

The FBI Washington Field Office spearheaded the investigation, with charges resulting from extensive cooperation among agents and staff across numerous FBI Field Offices and various law enforcement agencies. Since January 6, 2021, over 1,106 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the U.S. Capitol breach, including more than 350 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement.

Reporting Tips

For those with information or tips related to these events, you can call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or visit tips.fbi.gov.

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