A witness expected to testify for the defense in the trial against Proud Boys members associated with the Jan. 6 riot was actually an FBI informant, the Daily Caller reported. The witness was providing information from April 2021 until January 2023, if not after.
The trial involves members of the Proud Boys, including Joseph Biggs, Zachary Rehl, Ethan Nordean, and Dominic Pezzola. Their national chairman Enrique Tarrio is also on trial in connection to the incident.
All were indicted in June 2022 on charges of conspiring "to oppose the lawful transfer of presidential power by force." However, the legal proceedings against them have been fraught with issues, most recently the fact that the defense team may have been dealing with a government operative.
In legal filings from Rehl's attorney Carmen Hernandez, it appears the agency waited until the last minute to reveal the conflict. The informant was set to testify on Thursday, and the informant's status was shared on Wednesday.
However, prosecutors were aware as early as December that the person could be called as a defense witness, the Associated Press reported. Moreover, it's not as if this informant simply had a casual connection to the crew.
The unnamed informant had prayed with at least one of the defendant's family members and suggested changes to the defense team. The defendants called for dismissing the indictment or, at the very least, an evidentiary hearing to hash it all out.
There have been other issues that the defense team insists are grounds for a mistrial. According to the testimony of FBI Agent Nicole Miller, at least two other informants had infiltrated the Proud Boys.
One of those informants had even participated in the Jan. 6 protest. Hernandez used this as one of many "reasons to doubt the veracity of the government's explanation and justification for withholding information about the (confidential human sources) who have been involved in the case."
The prosecution's response was simply that the informant didn't collect any information from the defense team and, therefore, shouldn't be problematic, a later report from the AP revealed. "That certain defendants or defense counsel chose to communicate with the (confidential human source) about matters related to this prosecution is a decision made by them," prosecutors claimed in legal documents.
"However, the government in no way orchestrated such alleged voluntary interactions." U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly said the trial could resume Friday with more hearings on exactly how deeply the informant had infiltrated the defense's team.
This case, and the role informants play in organizing the alleged crimes along with the defendants, echoes the plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. At least a dozen or more FBI agents were involved in organizing and moving along those plans that ensnared several men, according to Reason.
The FBI picks its marks and gets to work moving them toward a crime rather than outing people already intent on committing them. "The targeting is based on what people say and think and who they associate with rather than evidence of criminality," Michael German, a former FBI agent turned whistleblower, said of the anti-terrorism movement.
"It alters the focus of the investigation away from the individuals who are involved in criminal activity." At least 14 people were charged with some aspect of the conspiracy to commit kidnapping.
The intelligence community is supposed to keep Americans safe. Instead, it almost seems like their goal is to make sure these plans come to fruition as a gotcha against right-wing extremists -- and that's a scary thought.