A member of the Proud Boys organization texted his FBI handler in real time during the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C., according to a report in the New York Times.
The unidentified Proud Boys member was working as an informant and keeping his agency “handler” updated on the events at the federal building as supporters of then-President Donald Trump stormed the building to stop a joint session of Congress from validating the Electoral College results of the 2020 election.
During the ensuing melee, one Trump supporter, Ashli Babbitt, was shot and killed by Capitol Police Lt. Michael Byrd. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick died after suffering two strokes, and three others died from natural causes, according to the city’s medical examiner.
Several other police officers were injured during the incident.
The Times report cites “confidential records” it obtained that give a glimpse into the events of the day through the eyes of one of the participants.
The informant’s communications with the FBI show that the group did not have any specific plans once they arrived at the Capitol, but apparently succumbed to a “mob mentality” of the pro-Trump herd of supporters.
His federal bureau contact told him to keep communicating and let him know if violence broke out, according to the report.
The revelation that an informant was giving the FBI a blow-by-blow description of the event in real time and that there was no organized planning involved, may derail federal prosecutions already in the works.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, as of Sept. 6, eight months after the incident, more than 600 people have been arrested and charged.
Some 185 are charged with assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers or employees, with 55 of those also charged with using a deadly weapon or causing serious bodily injury to a total of 140 officers wounded during the riot.
Of that total, 80 were U.S. capitol police and about 60 from the Washington D.C. police department, according to the attorney’s office.
Another 40 defendants are charged with conspiracy, which could be more difficult to prove if what the informant is saying turns out to be true.
Of the more than 600 charged, 50 have pleaded guilty to “a variety of federal charges” and face jail time, 40 pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges, nine to felonies, and three of those to assault on law enforcement officers which carries a maximum penalty of eight years in prison and a fine of $250,000, according to the agency.
The riot caused an estimated $1.5 million in damage.
Currently there are hearings by a House Select Committee investigating the incident.
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