Proud boy leader winks at his friends in stunning plea deal

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A senior Proud Boys leader pleaded guilty Friday to his alleged involvement in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. The plea – the first from a core group of Proud Boys accused of planning the attack – comes amid a recent spate of guilty pleas from Proud Boys involved in the riot.

Charles Donohoe, leader of the North Carolina far-right group, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to obstruct official proceedings and assault an officer. Donohoe is expected to assist the Justice Department with the ongoing investigation into the Proud Boys and their involvement in the January 6 attack.

He is also the third Proud Boy to plead guilty this week, part of a growing crop of January 6 collaboration deals with members of paramilitary groups.

Official swears she accidentally joined the Proud Boys Trucker Chat

As part of his plea, Donohoe admitted that he was a leader of a core group of Proud Boys called the Ministry of Self-Defense (MOSD), which met for the express purpose of discussing an attack on the Capitol.

“Donohoe believed the storming of the Capitol would accomplish the group’s goal of preventing the government from carrying out the transfer of presidential power,” the DOJ wrote in a statement following his guilty plea on Friday. “Donohoe understood from discussions that the Proud Boys would pursue their goal through the use of force and violence.”

The MOSD’s discussions are central to the DOJ’s case against the Proud Boys. Prosecutors allege that Proud Boy’s leadership planned their attack in the MOSD chat group, even inciting each other while the attack was underway. Donohoe’s partnership agreement could shed new light on the chat group and its members, many of whom are also accused of conspiracy. Among the MOSD members named were Donohoe, then-president of the Proud Boys, Enrique Tarrio, as well as Proud Boy leaders Ethan Nordean, Joe Biggs and Zachary Rehl.

Dominic Pezzola, the proud boy accused of breaking into the Capitol for the first time with a stolen police shield, was also a member of the MOSD and had recently been “accelerated by Tarrio to become a member of the Proud Boys,” according to an abusive statement in the case of Donohoe. †

Tarrio, Nordean, Biggs, Rehl and Pezzola have pleaded not guilty to charges in the January 6 attack. But a recent spate of plea deals with Proud Boy suggests the group’s solidarity is crumbling.

On Thursday, a California Proud Boy employee pleaded guilty to assaulting a police officer on Jan. 6. Ricky Willden, a California man, confessed to spraying a chemical at the Capitol Police Department and tossing the bus at them when it was empty.

On Wednesday, West Virginia Proud Boys leader Jeffrey Finley also pleaded guilty to illegally entering the Capitol. Court documents from Finley’s case show that he communicated with other Proud Boy leaders through a chat channel called “Boots on the Ground” during the attack.

Other Proud Boys have pleaded before in connection with the Capitol attack. In December, Matthew Greene pleaded guilty to conspiracy in the case and agreed to cooperate with investigators. Another man, James Giannakos, was not charged directly in the Capitol bombing, but was under investigation after leaving voicemail threats against a prosecutor involved in a case against Tarrio.

A search of Giannakos’ home revealed a Capitol police shield, an officer’s body camera and helmet, as well as various combat gear. South Carolinas The state reported that court records show that Giannakos is under investigation in connection with the January 6 riots, but that he has not been charged in the case. He took a plea deal regarding the telephone threats and agreed to cooperate in other criminal cases, including the Capitol riot.

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