This story was originally published by the WND News Center.
Critics and supporters of Donald Trump said the government's successful prosecution of four "Proud Boys" J6 protesters on "seditious conspiracy" charges in a Washington, D.C. court could pave the way for him being criminally prosecuted in the same, Democrat-friendly court system.
After seven days of deliberation, a D.C. jury containing members with openly leftist sympathies Thursday found ex-Proud Boys chairman Enrique Tarrio and three other members of the anti-left group guilty of "seditious conspiracy" and other related charges for their actions in the "Stop the Steal" melee on Jan. 6, 2021 at the nation's Capitol.
"The legal maximum penalty for either seditious conspiracy or obstruction charges is 20 years in prison," the Washington Post reported. Further details of the ruling can be found at UnCoverDC.com, which called the verdict a "highly politicized miscarriage of justice."
Julie Kelly, the leading conservative pundit chronicling what she calls the Biden administration's "abusive" J6 prosecutions and extremely harsh treatment of J6 prisoners, tweeted Thursday: "A rogue judge, dirty prosecutors, and biased DC jury just handed Merrick Garland's handpicked special prosecutor the biggest gift of his career: a roadmap to indict Trump on seditious conspiracy and other crimes."
The sub-head to Kelly's April 28 article on the ominous implications of a Proud Boys guilty verdict reads: "Guilty verdicts in the most consequential January 6 trial will be the green light the Justice Department has been waiting for to go after the former president."
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland called a major press conference Thursday to celebrate the legal victory, saying, "Today's verdict makes clear that the Justice Department will do everything in its power to defend the American people and American democracy."
Kelly, a writer for American Greatness, warned that Garland's team is now emboldened to go after Trump, tweeting: "You don't line up DOJs heaviest hitters including head of National Security Division (Matt Olsen, far left [in photo] below) to just brag about Proud Boys verdicts."
Liberal corporate media leaned heavily on the left's "violent insurrection" narrative to report on the Proud Boys conviction. The Washington Post, in an article with four reporters, quoted a staffer from the far-left, pro-BLM Western States Center, which it conveniently labeled a "civil rights" group: "The convictions mark a milestone on the journey to accountability for the perpetrators of the Capitol attack, 'showing that political violence and attacks on our democratic institutions will be taken seriously by our justice system and will not be tolerated by the American people,' said Lindsay Schubiner, director of programs at Western States Center, a Portland-based civil rights group that monitors anti-democracy movements nationwide."
The Post also quoted New York University law professor Ryan Goodman, who said the verdict "empowers the special counsel [investigating Trump, Jack Smith] to bring indictments for efforts to overturn the election, according to the newspaper. "It underscores the enormous stakes in mobilizing Americans to believe the 'big lie' and directing an armed crowd to interfere with the congressional proceedings," Goodman told the Post.
Regarding the professor's comment about the "armed crowd," a common quip among pro-MAGA critics of the Democrats' J6 narrative is that this was the first insurrection "with no guns," as former Fox News host Tucker Carlson said mockingly in his April interview with Kelly (see video at bottom).
But even the Post, whose antipathy for Trump and his MAGA movement – as reflected by skewed coverage – is well-documented, reported: "But U.S. prosecutors have not produced any 'smoking gun' evidence explicitly tracing the actions of any of the Capitol's violent actors to Trump or his advisers – either from a cooperating witness or an actual written message – although that conceivably could change if anyone still facing charges or pending sentencing 'flips' and cooperates."
'Amps the pressure up on Jack Smith'
The left wasted no time in exploiting the Proud Boys conviction to put pressure on Biden and the DOJ to now take the same "seditious conspiracy" prosecutorial strategy to Trump himself. Special Counsel Jack Smith was appointed by Garland appointed to investigate Trump's handling of classified documents and Trump's actions surrounding Jan. 6.
Steve Bannon's "War Room" broadcast Thursday played a clip from MSNBC (which Rush Limbaugh used to call "MSDNC") in which Democrat attorney Andrew Weissman said, "I do think it amps the pressure up on Jack Smith because so far the leader, the person who caused all this to take place [Trump], has not yet been charged." Weissman is the hard-nosed Democrat attorney who was excoriated by conservative thought leaders as the aggressive force behind the Mueller probe into Trump and the "Russiagate" hoax.
Weissman, alluding to the Proud Boys conviction, said "There is a huge domestic terrorism problem in this country." Conservatives say the same thing, except they apply it to left-wing groups like Antifa, which they regard as a far greater threat than the prosecuted fringe groups, Oath Keepers and Proud Boys, which remain largely unfamiliar to most on the right to this day.
In her April 28 piece about the trial, Kelly wrote ominously about the prospects for Trump: "No one should doubt for a moment that the most vengeful, partisan Justice Department in U.S. history would happily hand down a criminal charge comparable to treason against a former president it opposed. Without a shred of accountability for its abusive January 6 prosecution, which has resulted in charges against more than 1,000 Americans so far with perhaps 1,000 more arrests to come, there is no reason for Smith not to go for the golden ring – or, rather, the golden handcuffs – and indict Trump on most or all of the conspiracy charges."
"When he [Trump] is indicted ... if he is indicted for seditious conspiracy, which I think ... the chances of that just increased tremendously today, I can see Jack Smith seeking pretrial detention for Donald Trump, which is exactly what they've done [to] every defendant who's been with seditious conspiracy," she told conservative broadcaster Jesse Kelly Thursday. "So now they have a precedent for these courts to sign off on pretrial detention orders – meaning deny bail. You will be held in prison until your trial commences."
Kelly said, "I've watched these judges and prosecutors more than anyone on this side [conservatives], but nothing will surprise me. I'm sure they're just chomping at the bit now waiting to present this information to the grand jury seeking a seditious conspiracy indictment, and then, shockingly, seeking to keep Donald Trump in jail, particularly as he's campaigning for president, pretending that he poses ... a security risk to the American people."
Jesse Kelly, the interviewer, responded: "This country's going to come apart if that happens, right?"
Biased judge and legal proceedings
As left-leaning media like the AP reported on the Proud Boys' conviction largely along the lines of the Democrats' "insurrection" narrative, it was left to Kelly and a few other conservative stalwarts to provide balance in exposing the extreme bias of the court proceedings.
"This was not domestic terrorism. These men were not violent for the most part," Kelly told Bannon. "This is just another way for this Department of Justice to retaliate against Americans who protested Joe Biden's election and to criminalize political dissent in this country, which this DOJ is doing very successfully, with every trial and every conviction."
"I do not think people grasp the depravity, malice, and bloodlust of the people behind these prosecutions. It has been the most eye-opening – and heartbreaking – experience of my life.," Kelly tweeted. Another Twitter conservative, "@thebradfordfile," responded by tweeting: "The regime is hunting down Trump supporters and destroying their entire lives for 'politics.'"
Kelly described the lopsided trial in an article in American Greatness: "Jury deliberations began April 26; the nearly four-month trial was marred by controversy including last-minute disclosures of numerous FBI informants; open hostility between the judge and defense attorneys; the accidental discovery of explosive messages between FBI agents discussing deleted evidence, a doctored report, and the surveillance of attorney-client jailhouse communications; multiple sightings in evidence of the still-uncharged Ray Epps; a convoluted appellate ruling on the legitimacy of a key charge in the case; and suspicions of a jury stalker."
She summed up the left-leaning bias of the trial in her column Thursday: "Judge Kelly, a former federal prosecutor, and Trump appointee, acted as an extra lawyer for the prosecution, routinely rubber-stamping government motions that make the convictions ripe for appeal. He repeatedly denied the defendants' release from jail – Biggs, Rehl, Nordean, and Pezzola have been in custody under pretrial detention orders since early 2021 – while refusing to move the trial out of D.C. as the Justice Department racked up convictions in record time against January 6 defendants."
As evidence of the partial jury, Kelly cited a "Lawfareblog" writer who reported that several of the Proud Boy trial jurors had testified in jury selection to participating in liberal protests, including "Black Lives Matter" rallies, "women's protests," and anti-gun protests.