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DOJ Delays Proud Boys Trial, Citing Work Of Jan. 6 Committee

Proud Boys leaders facing seditious conspiracy charges shouldn’t face a jury until early 2023, the Justice Department contended Tuesday, warning that the ongoing work of the House Jan. 6 committee had made it difficult for both sides to prepare for trial. In a court filing Tuesday evening, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason McCullough noted that the Proud Boys had been given a prominent role in the committee’s televised hearings, which described the group as crucial instigators of the riot that disrupted the transfer of power on Jan. 6, 2021, Politico reports. The committee has also refused, for now, to share with the DOJ the transcripts of its 1,000 witness interviews. The panel may release them publicly in the coming weeks or months. It’s a significant concession for DOJ, which had initially intended to try the seditious conspiracy case in early August. In Tuesday’s filing, DOJ proposed beginning jury selection Dec. 12, 2021, with opening statements to begin the week of Jan. 2, 2023. That proposed schedule increases the likelihood that one of the two most significant cases to emerge from the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol won’t be resolved until well after the two-year anniversary of the attack.

DOJ noted that former Proud Boys national chairman Enrique Tarrio was featured prominently during the committee’s first public hearing June 9. The committee also focused significantly on the actions and moments of Proud Boys Joe Biggs and Dominic Pezzola, the first rioter to breach the Capitol that day. DOJ is more concerned that the committee could release new batches of information just as the trial gets underway. McCullough said that if the trials take place at the same time, the parties would be conducting a criminal trial simultaneous to the release of a Congressional report that is likely to include robust descriptions of the criminal conduct of the defendants." Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), who is slated to lead the hearing on the Proud Boys connections to Trump's orbit, said he doesn't believe his focus on that aspect of the investigation would make it more difficult for DOJ to prosecute the Proud Boys leadership.

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