The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

U.S. says Proud Boys ‘did not stand back,’ sought to keep Trump in office

Proud Boys leader Henry “Enrique” Tarrio. (Allison Dinner/AP)
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The Justice Department on Thursday pointed to leaders in the far-right Proud Boys as responsible for storming the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, suggesting the attack might not have succeeded if organized extremists had not led the charge.

“The transfer of power from Donald Trump to Joe Biden was stopped — at the hands of these defendants,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason B.A. McCullough told jurors. Invoking Trump’s words at a 2020 presidential debate, McCullough said: “They did not stand back. They did not stand by.”

Henry “Enrique” Tarrio and four members of the right-wing group he led are charged with seditious conspiracy, among other felonies.

Attorneys for Tarrio and the other defendants also pointed to Trump, saying the Proud Boys had become a “scapegoat” for the former president. “He is the one who unleashed that mob at the Capitol on January 6,” Tarrio’s lawyer said in his opening statement.