The US government is now working on their third attempt to obtain pre-trial detention of Proud Boy Ethan Nordean — despite the fact that a judge called their outlandish case against him “weak, to say the least.”
Nordean is facing a slew of charges over his presence at the Capitol protest on January 6.
Those who wish to contribute to a fundraiser for Nordean can do so here.
Since his arrest on February 3, the prosecution has made three attempts to have Nordean detained until trial, which could be over a year away. Their effort has been bizarrely persistent, even though he has been complying with all of the terms of his release, including wearing an ankle bracelet while on house arrest.
The prosecution’s first attempt to imprison Nordean until trial was rejected by the Chief Magistrate Judge of the Western District of Washington. Their second attempt was denied by Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell in DC, who said that the evidence against him was “weak.”
“What I’ve heard at the hearing today is that the defendant, with this group, positioned himself at one of the entrances – pedestrian entrances to the Capitol and, you know, strutted right in front of the police barriers. That’s also a far cry from threatening or assaulting the police officers who were barricading the entrance to the Capitol,” Judge Howell told the prosection. “He then – what I’ve heard at the hearing today is that the defendant’s followers and other people in the crowd – not necessarily even Proud Boys – broke through the barriers, breached the police line and got into the Capitol, and the defendant went along with this mob. There is no allegation that the defendant caused injury to any person or that he even personally caused damage to any particular property.”
Judge Howell added that, “he was a leader of a march down to the Capitol. Once they got there it’s not clear what leadership role this defendant took at all to the people inside the Capitol or – even the evidence about the defendant directing people to break windows to get into the Capitol is weak, to say the least.”
On Thursday, the government was supposed to make their third attempt before Trump appointed DC District Judge Timothy J. Kelly — but it has been postponed until at least the 6th.
According to the prosecution, Nordean was part of a conspiracy for the Proud Boys to take over the Capitol. They claimed that he was using encrypted chats on the day of the protest to give directions, that he had a fake passport so he could flee the country, and that he was essentially the de facto leader of the group as their chairman, Enrique Tarrio, had been arrested prior to the rally. They claim that he, and the other Proud Boys, were planning to some how seize the Capitol and take over the government… without any weapons.
The problem is, while these claims sound salacious and damning — they do not appear able to hold up to even a basic level of scrutiny.
The passport, which the media was quick to report on, actually belongs to his wife’s previous boyfriend. When they broke up, she says that he had left behind many of his personal belongings, including the travel document. The government claimed that the FBI agents who raided his home found it near Nordean’s “side of the bed,” but failed to mention that it was actually inside her jewelry box for safe keeping. The government has now withdrawn this claim, even though it was the basis for their repeated attempts to obtain pretrial detention.
In one of the more wild claims that the prosecution has made, they said that Nordean was using encrypted chats to “conspire” on January 6 — the problem with this claim is that his phone was actually off.
“Defendant—dressed all in black, wearing a tactical vest—led the Proud Boys through the use of encrypted communications and military-style equipment, and he led them with the specific plans to: split up into groups, attempt to break into the Capitol building from as many different points as possible, and prevent the Joint Session of Congress from Certifying the Electoral College results,” the government claimed.
Not only did the government know that this information was false, they allegedly also withheld that knowledge from Nordean’s defense.
“This factual claim was shown to be false. Nordean advised Chief Howell that he could not have ‘led the Proud Boys through the use of encrypted communications’ on January 6 because, among other reasons, his mobile phone was without power throughout the events of the day,” a motion filed by the defense reads. “Although the government was at the time in possession of Nordean’s phone, at no point did it disclose to the defense that exculpatory evidence existed showing that Nordean did not use ‘encrypted communications’ on January 6.”
Once they were questioned by the court, they admitted that their previous claim was false.
Questioned by the Court on this point, the government acknowledged it possessed evidence showing Nordean’s phone was without power during the relevant events on January 6. This evidence was not produced to the defense, contrary to the Due Process Protection Act order entered in his case on February 8,” the motion continued.
The former singer of the wildly popular punk band The Misfits has also submitted an affidavit in Nordean’s defense.
Earlier in the day, Michael Graves had performed for the Latino’s for Trump group. During the event, the Proud Boy asked him if he would be willing to come perform for the group at their Airbnb around 3:30 or 4 p.m. Why would someone planning to overthrow the government at 2 p.m., which the government claims he planned in advance, be trying to organize a party for right after the storming of the Capitol began?
The prosecution is arguing that there was property damage that Nordean is responsible for, but a motion filed for the defense notes that “at every reference to damaged property the superseding indictment is forced to caveat, in the passive voice, that damage to windows and doors ‘was done,’ often by ‘others in the crowd.’”
Finally, a claim that many of you have probably seen reported in the media, that he was using a Baofeng radio to communicate with others during the protest, has also been proven false.
“The government separately contended that Nordean used a Baofeng radio—seized from his home on February 3—to lead a group of people into the Capitol on January 6,” the defense motion continues. “However, Nordean then supplied the Court with an Amazon receipt showing that he did not receive the ham radio until January 7.”
With all of this evidence that their claims against Nordean were false or a mistake, it remains unclear why the government is working so hard to detain him before his trial.