Proud Boys member pleads guilty, will cooperate with investigation into January 6 riot
A member of the Proud Boys who was among the first to cross the police line at the United States Capitol on January 6 pleaded guilty on Wednesday and agreed to cooperate with the government – potentially against other members of the group. extreme right, authorities said.
The accused, Matthew Greene, 34, of Syracuse, NY, was most likely the first member of the Proud Boys, a group that describes itself as “Western chauvinists,” to plead guilty to charges arising from the riot, his lawyer, Michael Kasmarek, said Wednesday.
Mr. Greene was “among the first wave” to climb the Capitol steps after the police line was severed, the District of Columbia’s United States attorney’s office said in a statement on Wednesday. After descending the stairs, he moved the police barricades, prosecutors said. His lawyer says he never entered the Capitol.
Mr Greene and other members of the Proud Boys had agreed before the siege to communicate via programmable radios, prosecutors said. They were “intentionally dressed in clothes that masked their membership in Proud Boys,” the statement said.
Mr Greene spent much of the rally alongside Dominic Pezzola from Rochester, NY, who was spotted hitting a window on the Capitol with a police shield in a widely viewed video. Mr Pezzola, 44, was later identified in a criminal complaint as part of a group which spoke out about the murders of former Vice President Mike Pence and President Nancy Pelosi. He has pleaded not guilty to a litany of charges, prosecutors said.
Mr Greene faces up to 25 years in prison on one count of conspiracy and one count of obstructing formal proceedings, prosecutors said. But he could receive a sentence of 41 to 51 months because he agreed to cooperate with investigators, Kasmarek said.
Understanding the U.S. Capitol Riot
On January 6, 2021, a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol.
He is expected to be sentenced on March 10, prosecutors said. His lawyer declined to say where he was held so far.
After Mr Greene returned home from the riot, he ordered over 2,000 rounds of assault rifles and told an “acquaintance” to be prepared “to do uncomfortable things”, according to a request. filed by prosecutors in June. The FBI seized his ammunition along with an AR-15 rifle and handguns as they searched his home on January 18.
Mr Greene was arrested in April and agreed to share information with the government, Mr Kasmarek said, adding that Mr Greene “wants to take responsibility for what he has done”.
Key figures from the January 6 survey
Prosecutors said the Proud Boys played a leading role in the attack in which a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol, injuring dozens of police in a rampage that left several behind. dead.
The organization, which has maintained ties with both overt white supremacists and more mainstream Republicans, has been a staunch – and often violent – supporter of former President Donald J. Trump. During one of the presidential debates, Mr. Trump appeared to show his support by telling his members to “step back and be ready.”
In the aftermath of the riot, federal authorities used the full extent of their powers to investigate the organization. FBI agents executed search warrants in New York, California, Florida, Missouri and Washington state.
Along with Mr. Pezzola, Mr. Greene also spent much of the rally with William Pepe from Beacon, NY. The charges against Mr Pepe, 32, have been poorly described. In a criminal complaint filed Jan. 11, prosecutors said he used a day off sick to attend a “Stop the Steal” protest in Washington, DC, and was subsequently photographed at the interior of the Capitol.
Mr Pepe has pleaded not guilty, prosecutors said.
More than 700 people have been charged since the siege, the Justice Department said, including members of the Oath Keepers, a ten-year-old anti-government militia. Four members of the group have pleaded guilty and are cooperating with investigators.
Alain Feuer contributed report.