Ex-Proud Boys leader from Auburn sentenced to 18 years in prison

Sep 1, 2023, 4:39 PM | Updated: Sep 4, 2023, 10:50 am

Proud Boys Nordean...

Proud Boy member Ethan Nordean walks toward the U.S. Capitol in Washington, in support of President Donald Trump on Jan. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

Corrections and clarifications: An earlier version of this story incorrectly cited a quote to Ethan Nordean. The story has been updated to cite the quote to the correct person.

Ethan Nordean, a former leader and Seattle-area chapter president of the Proud Boys far-right extremist group, was sentenced Friday to 18 years in prison and 36 months of supervised release for his role in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

The sentence ties the record for the longest sentence handed down after the attack.

Dominic Pezzola was also sentenced to 10 years in prison and 36 months of supervised release for his involvement in the Capitol riots. Pezzola was hand-picked by Nordean to participate in the attack on the Capitol that day. Pezzola exclaimed “Trump won!” when he walked out of the courtroom, according to The Associated Press (AP).

More on Proud Boys’ indictments: Auburn member of Proud Boys found guilty in Jan. 6 trial

Nordean and Pezzola were found guilty of multiple felonies on May 4, including obstruction of an official proceeding and conspiracy to prevent members of Congress or federal officers from discharging their duties. Three other co-defendants were also found guilty.

Ethan Nordean, who is from Auburn, was “the undisputed leader on the ground on Jan 6,” prosecutor Jason McCullough said during the sentencing, according to the AP. Prosecutors originally sought a 27-year sentence for the former Seattle-area chapter president.

Nordean was previously convicted of seditious conspiracy. He now joins Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes for the longest sentence regarding the Capitol riots. Oath Keepers is a separate far-right anti-government militia that previously worked closely with Proud Boys members.

Six members of the Oath Keepers also were convicted of seditious conspiracy after a separate trial last year.

In the 31 months since Jan. 6, 2021, more than 1,106 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including more than 350 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) noted in a prepared statement.

According to court documents from the DOJ, the Proud Boys organization played a significant and often violent role in prior Washington, D.C., rallies in November and December 2020. In the aftermath of that conduct, Nordean and other co-defendants served as members and leaders of a special chapter of the Proud Boys known as the “Ministry of Self-Defense.”

More on Proud Boys: Ex-member claims the group failed to carry out ‘revolution’

This group established a chain of command, chose a time and place for their attack and recruited others who would follow their top-down leadership and who were prepared to engage in physical violence if necessary, according to court documents. Nordean, Pezzola and others gathered at the base of the concrete stairs that led to the doors and windows of the Capitol with many of their co-conspirators and other men they had led to the Capitol.

The group again surged toward the Capitol and overwhelmed officers who had been battling the crowd for nearly an hour. Pezzola smashed open a window allowing the first rioters to enter the Capitol at 2:11 p.m, according to the AP.

During the hearing, U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Kelly applied the enhancement for a federal crime of terrorism to the defendants convictions for destruction of government property.

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