- In a rare agreement, the DOJ and Proud Boys leaders successfully asked to delay a seditious conspiracy trial.
- Both sides blame the Jan. 6 hearings for making the trial far more complicated.
- Former Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio got shut down in his lone bid to keep the original Aug. 8 date.
A federal judge agreed Wednesday to delay the trial of five alleged members of the Proud Boys, including the far-right group's former leader Enrique Tarrio, after defense lawyers and prosecutors raised concerns involving the high-profile House investigation into the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.
During a brief court hearing, Judge Timothy Kelly said he would "reluctantly" push the trial from August to December but raised the prospect of delaying the criminal proceeding even further. All five members of the far-right group face charges of seditious conspiracy.
Tarrio alone had opposed moving the original August 8 trial date.
"Our position is that it doesn't matter when this case gets set for trial, whether it's August, December," Tarrio attorney Sabino Jauregui told the judge.
"We won't get an impartial jury in Washington, DC," Jauregui said. "We're ready for trial August 8."The judge appeared to brush Tarrio's position aside, responding, "Even meting all of that out, I'm going to enter an order later today that reluctantly grants the motion … that continues the trial date."
The judge rebuffed federal prosecutors' suggestion that opening statements be scheduled for the week of January 2, 2023, after the holidays — three weeks after the December 12 start of jury selection.
"We're not going to have that many weeks from the time we start picking a jury until an opening statement," he said.
"The parties should be prepared to open that week," he said.
"We're not going to have these folks sit around from December until January waiting for an opening statement," the judge added. "I just don't see a world where that is appropriate. We'll get a running start and we should be prepared to pick them. At the end of the day it's not rocket science."
The hearing in Washington, DC, federal court unfolded at a time of rising tensions between the Justice Department and the House committee investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol and former President Donald Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
In a June 15 letter to the House committee, the Justice Department said the congressional panel's "failure" to turn over interview transcripts was complicating investigations and prosecutions arising out of the January 6 attack.
The letter did not identify Tarrio or other Proud Boys members by name. But the Justice Department appeared to allude to Tarrio in a reference to video footage that the House committee played of interviews conducted of "individuals who have been charged" in connection with January 6.
At the House committee's first hearing, the panel played footage of interviews in which Proud Boys members recalled feeling emboldened by President Donald Trump telling the extremist group to "stand back and stand by" during a debate in September 2020. In one interview clip, Tarrio said he regretted not selling t-shirts brandished with Trump's debate-stage words.
"One of the vendors on my page actually beat me to it, but I wish I would've made a 'stand back stand by' t-shirt," Tarrio said in his interview with the House committee.
SOURCE: Business Insider – Read entire story here.