The first member of the Proud Boys organization to do so since the organization’s head and many other members were charged with seditious conspiracy is one of the far-right extremist group’s members who participated in the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6.
Jeremy Bertino of Belmont, North Carolina, admitted in a charging document submitted to the federal district court in Washington that he “knowingly combined, conspired, confederated and agreed” with five other Proud Boys members and the group’s leader, Enrique Tarrio, “to oppose by force the authority of the government of the United States and to delay by force the execution of the laws governing the transfer of power, including the 12th Amendment.”
In addition, the filing claims that Bertino obtained and owned a number of firearms, including two pistols, two rifles, a shotgun, and an AR-15-style Mossburg.22 rifle with a scope, “unlawfully and knowingly” and “which had been possessed, shipped and transported in and affecting interstate and foreign commerce.”
He admits to planning to use force to thwart the peaceful transition of power from former President Donald Trump to Vice President Joe Biden.
He is charged with one count of seditious conspiracy and one count of obtaining or possessing a handgun or ammunition while a convicted felon.
Bertino is the first Proud Boys member to enter a guilty plea to a charge of seditious conspiracy, despite the fact that the Justice Department did not prosecute any other members of the organization in June.
When Congress gathered for a joint session in January, Tarrio, along with co-defendants Ethan Nordean, Joseph Biggs, Zachary Rehl, and Dominic Pezzola, are charged with conspiring to hinder and halt the counting of state electoral votes.
Mid-December is when the members’ trial is scheduled to start.
Members of the Oath Keepers, another extreme right organization, are now on trial for a variety of offences, including seditious conspiracy.
Stewart Rhodes, the founder of Oath Keepers, and four other defendants, all of whom have pled not guilty to the accusation, are now on trial before a jury.