A New York man pleaded guilty Wednesday to storming the U.S. Capitol with fellow members of the far-right Proud Boys, a milestone in the Justice Department’s prosecution of extremists who joined the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Matthew Greene was the first member of Proud Boys to plead guilty publicly to conspiring with others to prevent Congress from certifying the Electoral College election. Under the terms of his plea deal, he will cooperate with authorities.

After a grand jury had indicted Greene in the same case, he was taken into custody in April. Both have pleaded guilty.

Greene, Pezzola, and the other Proud Boys traveled with Pezzola from Syracuse, New York, on January 5. Prosecutors claim that Greene climbed over police barricades to reach Washington, D.C. with Pezzola and the other Proud Boys on Jan. 5. But prosecutors have said they don’t have any evidence that Greene entered the Capitol building that day.

“After the riot, (Greene) engaged in conversations (on) encrypted messaging platforms admitting to his role in the riot, encouraging others not to give up in a fight to take back their country, and comparing the situation as it existed in the weeks following January 6 to a fourth-generation war,” prosecutors wrote in a June court filing.

Federal authorities have identified more than 30 people indicted for the Capitol siege as Proud Boys members, leaders or associates. At least 16 of these defendants are charged with conspiracy. In a key case, four group leaders were charged in March with conspiring to impede Congress’ certification of President Joe Biden’s electoral victory.

Greene faces a sentence of up to four years in prison, with a March sentencing. In addition to the fine, Greene must pay $2,000 in restitution and a $15,000 to $150,000 penalty. Federal charges for conspiracy and obstruction of an administrative proceeding were pleaded guilty by Greene.

March 6, 2021, Washington: Violent insurrectionists supporting Donald Trump climb the West Wall of the U.S. Capitol. Matthew Greene, a member of far-right Proud Boys, pleaded guilty to the charge of storming the U.S. Capitol.
Jose Luis Magana via Associated Press

Other members of extremist groups have been accused in a conspiracy to launch a coordinated attack against the Capitol. These include more than 20 people who were part the Oath Keepers, an anti-government organization.

Graydon Young, 55, of Englewood, Florida, was the first defendant to plead guilty in the Justice Department’s major conspiracy case against Oath Keepers members. The Justice Department also charged at least four other Oath Keepers with riot-related crimes.

Proud Boys members describe themselves as a politically incorrect men’s club for “Western chauvinists.” Its members frequently have engaged in street fights with antifascist activists at rallies and protests. Gavin McInnes of Vice Media, cofounder of the Proud Boys and founder in 2016, filed a lawsuit against the Southern Poverty Law Center, claiming it was a hate group.

Police arrested the Proud Boys’ top leader, Enrique Tarrio, in Washington two days before the Capitol riot and charged him with vandalizing a Black Lives Matter banner at a historic Black church during a protest in December 2020. Tarrio, who is serving his jail sentence for that case in the District of Columbia, hasn’t been charged in connection with the Capitol siege.

Proud Boys members marched up to the Capitol after meeting at the Washington Monument on January 6, before Donald Trump spoke to thousands of supporters.

Two hours later and just as Congress was convening a joint session in order to verify the results of the election, Proud Boys accompanied a large group who broke barriers at the Capitol’s pedestrian entrance. According to one indictment. According to the indictment, several Proud Boys entered the Capitol after the mob broke windows and forced doors open.

Prosecutors claim that Greene was wearing an electronic earpiece linked to a handheld wireless radio. Proud Boys set up members of the Proud Boys to transmit on specific frequencies using Baofeng radios. These Chinese-made radios can be set up to operate on hundreds of frequencies making it difficult for anyone outside to spy.

Timothy Kelly (U.S. District Court) ordered Greene placed in pretrial custody on August 2.

Prosecutors said in June that Greene, who served in the Army National Guard, “was willing to put lessons learned in that military service to use” against the U.S. The prosecution noted Greene’s possession of a pistol as well as an AR-15 unregistered rifle at his residence. They also pointed out that Greene ordered more than 2,000 rounds ammunition and a gas mask since Jan. 6.

“He encouraged an associate to read up on guerrilla warfare and to use the tactics used by the Taliban and to ‘be prepared to do uncomfortable things,’” prosecutors wrote.

Michael Kasmarek (defense attorney) stated that Greene was 34 when he became a partner of a digital graphic design business worth millions. Greene had a “very limited” association with the Proud Boys before Jan. 6 and didn’t have a leadership role in the group, Kasmarek said.

Greene “has concluded that his personal beliefs and ethics do not align with those of the Proud Boys,” and he is “anxious to publicly disavow his brief membership in this group,” his lawyer wrote.

More than 700 individuals have been arrested for federal charges related to this riot. More than 150 people have pleaded guilty to federal crimes related to the riot, with at least two additional defendants having Proud Boys connections.

Andrew Bennett, a Maryland man whom prosecutors described as a Proud Boys “admirer” but not a group member, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor offense and was sentenced in October to three months of home detention.

Micajah, an Arizonan man, pleaded guilty also to a misdemeanor. He was taken walking towards the Capitol with a group called Proud Boys on Jan. 6. However, Jackson told the FBI that he isn’t affiliated with the group and doesn’t support its ideology.

Source: HuffPost.com.

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