Proud Boys leader will stay in jail pending trial in January 6 conspiracy case, judge rules

Enrique Tarrio is the leader of the Proud Boys.

By Katelyn Polantz and Daniel Shepherd, CNN

(CNN) -- Enrique Tarrio, the leader of the Proud Boys, will remain in jail as he awaits trial, a federal judge decided on Tuesday.

The Justice Department had argued Tarrio, if released, would be a danger to the community, pointing to his leadership of the far-right group from afar during the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol and pride in their destructiveness.

"January 6 has passed, but there's no reason to think that Enrique Tarrio is done planning another incident," prosecutor Jason McCullough said in court Tuesday in Miami. An FBI agent testified in court as well.

"Based on the compelling evidence of Tarrio's leadership of this conspiracy, there are no conditions of release that can reasonably assure the safety of the community or the defendant's appearance in court. And based on Tarrio's public comments aimed at chilling witnesses against his co-conspirators, as well as his own purported efforts to evade law enforcement, he poses a risk of obstructing justice should he be released," the department said in a filing in federal court.

Magistrate Judge Lauren Louis of the Southern District of Florida agreed with the DOJ's warnings, noting there was also a threat that he could flee, after being charged with criminal conspiracy as an alleged planner of the January 6 attack of the Capitol.

Defense attorney Nayib Hassan asked the judge to be released, citing close family ties and ties to the community. Several of Tarrio's family members attended the hearing in Miami, which lasted nearly three hours, and some relatives offered their homes as collateral for his bond.

Tarrio's defense attorney said after the hearing he was "disappointed" in the judge's decision and might appeal the ruling at a hearing scheduled for next week in Washington, DC.

Tarrio's case will now move to the federal court in Washington, DC, for further proceedings. Five co-defendants of Tarrio who are also linked to the Proud Boys have pleaded not guilty.

Tarrio told group 'do it again'

Prosecutors specifically highlighted Tarrio texting in an encrypted message chat on January 6: "They'll fear us doing it again," after claiming, "We did this," about the Capitol attack. When a member of the group asked what to do next, Tarrio responded, "Do it again."

Monday's filing also revealed a new detail about an alleged meeting Tarrio had with Stewart Rhodes, the founder of the Oath Keepers, and others at a parking garage in Washington, DC, on January 5. Rhodes and other Oath Keepers are facing seditious conspiracy charges in a separate January 6 case.

While in the garage, Tarrio told a person, who was not identified, that he had wiped all messages on his phone and had a two-factor authentication set up to make his phone difficult to access for others, the Justice Department said.

Tarrio is the latest high-profile defendant indicted by the Justice Department in its sweeping investigation of January 6. He was added to an existing case against several other Proud Boys leaders and a man that the Justice Department believes was the first person to break into a Senate-side window, allowing the crowd to surge toward elected officials inside. Other Proud Boys members in the case are detained awaiting trial.

Prosecutors said in their filing on Monday that Tarrio is accused of a serious criminal conspiracy, stating that "the danger posed by this plot shows an extreme disregard for the safety of the community and the laws of the United States."

Tarrio was previously arrested and served jail time for destroying a church's Black Lives Matter banner in downtown DC. He was not in the city on January 6, having been ordered by a judge to leave because of his arrest days before.

Prosecutors described how Tarrio, after leaving DC on January 4, stayed in communication with a rally planning group within the Proud Boys called the Ministry of Self Defense, or MOSD. Their first event, according to prosecutors, was the January 6 Donald Trump rally in Washington, and Tarrio sent the group a voice message on January 4 acknowledging they wanted to "storm the Capitol."

"Tarrio directed and orchestrated the MOSD's violent acts entirely remotely -- using encrypted media and social media in the weeks leading up to January 6, and on the day itself, to organize, direct, and celebrate the success of a criminal conspiracy to obstruct the Certification of the Electoral College vote," prosecutors wrote.

This story and headline have been updated with additional developments Tuesday.

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