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Lawyer for Proud Boys Leader Enrique Tarrio Says Documentary Crew Video Doesn’t Support Keeping His Client Behind Bars

Enrique Tarrio (left); Stewart Rhodes (right)

(L) Enrique Tarrio (photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images); (R) Stewart Rhodes (photo via Collin County, Tex. Jail)

A lawyer for the leader of the Proud Boys extremist group charged with conspiracy in connection with the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol says that his client should be released from pretrial detention because the government’s evidence isn’t strong enough to keep him there.

Enrique Tarrio has been held in detention since March, when he was arrested in Florida and charged with conspiracy and obstruction in connection with the siege at the Capitol. Prosecutors say Tarrio and others met with Stewart Rhodes, the leader of the Oath Keepers anti-government group, on Jan. 5 in an underground meeting that was apparently filmed by a documentary crew.

Rhodes has been charged alongside 10 co-defendants—all alleged members of the Oath Keepers—with seditious conspiracy. That case is set for trial later this year.

Tarrio—like Rhodes—is not accused of breaching the Capitol on Jan. 6, but he is accused of helping to plot the incursion. Tarrio wasn’t even supposed to be in Washington, D.C. that day; he was ordered to stay away from the District following an arrest for burning a Black Lives Matter flag that had been stolen from an historic D.C. church.

Prosecutors say he went to D.C. anyway, and video taken on Jan. 5 appears to bear that out.

However, Tarrio’s lawyer Nayib Hassan says that same video undermines the government’s allegation that Tarrio conspired with Rhodes.

“The Government’s allegations stem from videos shot by a documentary crew on the night of January 5, 2021, after Tarrio had been released from custody,” the motion for revocation of detention says. “After a complete review of the videos, the Government’s argument is frivolous at best.”

According to Hassan, Tarrio met with certain people—including someone he identifies only as “a young lady”—in a parking garage near the Phoenix Hotel in D.C. in order to discuss possible legal representation.

“There is no mention of meeting up with Oath Keepers Elmer Stewart Rhodes III and there is no showing that he discussed anything with Mr. Rhodes,” Hassan argues, urging U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly to make “an independent finding, and not rely on the conclusionary finding” of the Florida judge who first ordered Tarrio’s pretrial detention.

At a hearing Wednesday, Hassan acknowledged that the allegations against his client, which is a factor a judge must consider in determining pretrial detention, are serious. However, he said that another factor—the strength of the evidence against Tarrio—just doesn’t hold up.

Hassan told Kelly that the video from the documentary crew shows Tarrio speaking with Joshua Macias, Amy Harris, Kellye SoRelle. Sedition Tracker, the Twitter account and website dedicated to identifying those who allegedly participated in the Capitol siege, provided a breakdown of who appeared on the video to which Hassan appeared to be referring.

Despite this apparent evidence showing Tarrio and Rhodes, Hassan said that his client did follow the government’s order to leave the capital.

“Tarrio was ordered to leave DC and that’s exactly what he did,” Hassan said.

Kelly did not issue a ruling on detention on Wednesday, telling the parties he would do so after additional review of the video.

[Photo of Enrique Tarrio by Joe Raedle/Getty Images; photo of Stewart Rhodes via Collin County, Texas Jail.]

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