The FBI has been found to have eight informants inside the Proud Boys in the months surrounding the events at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, according to recent court documentation.
The truth surfaced after defense attorneys for five members of the Proud Boys were set to go on trial next month for seditious conspiracy charges connected to Jan. 6.
In the heavily redacted court papers, the lawyers claimed prosecutors improperly withheld some information and confidential sources until several days ago.
In a sealed filing, prosecutors argued hundreds of pages of documents related to the FBI informants were neither "suppressed" by the government or directly relevant to the case nor relevant to the cases involving Enrique Tarrio, the Proud Boy former leader; Joseph Biggs; Ethan Nordean; Zachary Rehl; and Dominic Pezzola.
It is unknown what the informants told the government about the Proud Boys' role at the Capitol since the information is under a highly restrictive protective order.
A closed court hearing was held on Monday to discuss the informants and their roles in a U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.
The attorneys for the Proud Boys asked Judge Timothy Kelly to dismiss the indictment or delay the trial for a full investigation. According to a notice on the docket, Kelly made no decision.
The FBI also had sources within the inner circle of Stewart Rhodes, leader of the Oath Keepers, who were also present at the Capitol.
Rhodes and four Oath Keepers being tried for sedition charges were planning to call the informant — Greg McWhirter, the group's former vice president — as a defense witness. On the eve of his testimony, McWhirter suffered a heart attack.
The Justice Department has come under fire for not providing advanced warning about plans to storm the Capital or seemingly corroborating accusations after the groups allegedly conspired in a plotted attack. Former FBI officials allege there may have been gaps in bureau analysts information with informants, who are supposed to help agents connect intelligence dots.
Court papers have suggested some Proud Boys — including Biggs were recruited by the FBI to provide information on the militant leftist movement known as antifa.
Last year, The New York Times revealed an informant in the Kansas City chapter of the Proud Boys. The informant participated in the attack, and after, he stated he was unaware of a premeditated plan to seize the Capitol.
On Monday, Biggs' lawyer, J. Daniel Hull, called into question "whether a Proud Boy conspiracy plan to obstruct the Biden-Harris vote certification or to commit sedition ever existed or could have existed."
Whether the riot was predetermined or spontaneous remains the critical dispute for the Proud Boys on trial — scheduled to start on Dec. 12. It is the same defense to be used by Oath Keepers this coming week.
Ultimately, prosecutors will have to show the defendants knowingly agreed to use force to stop the lawful transfer of power after the 2020 election.
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