May 8, 2023

Proud Boys Get Two-Tiered Justice

While Joe Biden invites “good” protesters to the White House, his Department of Justice continues to steamroll J6 defendants.

Last Thursday, former Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio and three fellow members of his “far-right extremist group,” as the Associated Press dutifully calls it, were convicted on charges of “seditious conspiracy” for what the state says was a plot to keep Donald Trump in power.

How that handful of flagpole-brandishing protesters was going to carry off this grand conspiracy is anyone’s guess, but that’s beside the point. They’re guilty, by golly. Of seditious conspiracy.

Alas, had they instead been anti-2A radicals like those who invaded the Tennessee State House last month, Joe Biden would’ve hosted them as VIPs in the White House.

In a courthouse just blocks from the Capitol, a jury found the Afro-Cuban “white supremacist” Tarrio and three of his lieutenants — Ethan Nordean, Joseph Biggs, and Zachary Rehl — guilty as charged, while they cleared a fifth defendant, Dominic Pezzola, of the sedition charge and instead settled on some other felonies.

As the AP reports: “Securing the conviction of Tarrio, a high-profile leader who wasn’t at the riot itself, could embolden the Justice Department as a special counsel investigates Trump, including key aspects of the Jan. 6 insurrection. … Tarrio was a top target of what has become the largest Justice Department investigation in American history. He led the neo-fascist group — known for street fights with left-wing activists — when Trump infamously told the Proud Boys to ‘stand back and stand by’ during his first debate with Biden.”

Did you catch that? Those who protest from the Right are “extremists” and “neo-fascists,” but hard-left antifa hoodlums who riot during presidential inaugurations, wreck property, tear down statues, assault cops, incite violence, and set fire to government buildings are “activists.”

Two-tiered justice thus has both a judicial and a media component to it. And the message is clear to everyone on the Right who might be inclined to protest a future rigged election — like, say, the potential rematch between Joe Biden and Donald Trump next year: Democrats are free to riot against an electoral result they don’t like, but Republicans who do the same are gonna get the book thrown at them.

Anyone who doubts that we have a two-tiered justice system need only consider the rioting that took place during Trump’s inauguration in 2017, after which 214 people were indicted on felony rioting charges that carry a maximum sentence of 10 years and a fine of up to $25,000. This seemed altogether appropriate for the antifa thugs who “smashed storefronts and bus stops, hammered out the windows of a limousine, and eventually launched rocks at a phalanx of police.”

Six cops were injured that day, but, as the Associated Press reported more than two years later, the government dropped the charges against every last one of the rioters.

No such “luck” for the J6 rioters. As independent journalist Julie Kelly writes: “Jury deliberations began April 26; the nearly four-month trial was marred by controversy, including last-minute disclosures of numerous FBI informants; open hostility between the judge and defense attorneys; the accidental discovery of explosive messages between FBI agents discussing deleted evidence, a doctored report, and the surveillance of attorney-client jailhouse communications; multiple sightings in evidence of the still-uncharged Ray Epps; a convoluted appellate ruling on the legitimacy of a key charge in the case; and suspicions of a jury stalker.”

As for that less-than-impartial judge, a former federal prosecutor named Tim Kelly, he was, ironically, a Donald Trump appointee. Judge Kelly, as Julie Kelly (no relation) notes, “acted as an extra lawyer for the prosecution, routinely rubber-stamping government motions that make the convictions ripe for appeal.”

Once again, it seems, the deck has been stacked against a group of January 6 defendants, but we should at least pay lip service to the guarantee enshrined in our Constitution’s Sixth Amendment: “The accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury.”

Speedy? The crimes that these men are accused of predate Joe Biden’s presidency, and four of the five have been in jail awaiting trial for nearly that entire time, with Judge Kelly repeatedly denying them release and refusing to move the trial out of the nation’s capital, where the Biden Justice Department and its woefully biased pool of potential jurors have been running up the score against J6 defendants.

“I have been practicing in this district and in other districts for a long time,” said Rehl’s defense attorney, Carmen Hernandez, at the end of jury selection on January 10. “I have represented people charged with [using] machetes to kill [and] dismember persons. I have never, never experienced the level of prejudice and ill-will toward a set of defendants.”

As Roger Parloff writes at Lawfare: “Six jurors had participated in liberal-leaning protests or marches, while none mentioned conservative-leaning demonstrations. The protests included, in two cases, ‘women’s marches’; in two cases, ‘anti-gun’ marches; and, in four cases, protests related to Black Lives Matter or George Floyd’s murder, which, as we’ll see, are of particular concern in this case. One sitting juror had a Black Lives Matter sign in her yard.”

So much for that constitutionally guaranteed “impartial jury.”

One thing is becoming ever clearer in the murky swamp that is Washington, DC: Conservatives are going to have a helluva time getting a fair jury trial in a town where Democrats outnumber Republicans by approximately nine to one. We saw this in the government’s failure to win convictions even in seemingly open-and-shut cases like those of bit players Michael Sussmann and Igor Danchenko in special counsel John Durham’s disappointing prosecution of the Crossfire Hurricane case.

“The Justice Department will never stop working to defend the democracy to which all Americans are entitled,” prattled Attorney General Merrick Garland after the Proud Boys’ all-too-predictable verdict.

It’s a republic, Merrick.

But whatever.

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