Judge permits release of Proud Boys leader charged in Capitol riot
A federal judge on Monday allowed a Proud Boys leader who faces charges relating to the Capitol riot to be released despite prosecutors’ warnings that he could plan future attacks on the federal government.
Magistrate Judge Brian Tsuchida determined that Ethan Nordean, 30, who faces four counts related to the Capitol raid, should be released pending trial, with a nightly curfew and restrictions on travel and communication with other witnesses, CNN reported.
The Seattle-based judge’s order did not involve home detention, GPS monitoring or a monetary bail amount for Nordean, who has described himself as the “Sergeant of Arms” of the Seattle chapter of the Proud Boys.
“While you are out, you must maintain good conduct,” Tsuchida said on Monday.
Justice Department prosecutors had argued that if Nordean was released, he could work with the Proud Boys to plan a different attack or potentially flee the state. They signaled they would appeal his release.
“There is no reason to believe that Defendant, or any of his Proud Boy associates, are any more interested in ‘complacency,’ or any less interested in fomenting rebellion, than they were on January 5,” prosecutors wrote in a legal memo, according to CNN.
“Releasing Defendant to rejoin their fold and plan their next attack poses a potentially catastrophic risk of danger to the community,” the prosecutors added.
Nordean’s attorney claimed that his client was not “a danger” and was not preparing to escape the state.
“Mr. Nordean’s alleged membership in the Proud Boys does not make him a danger to others or the community,” his defense team wrote, according to CNN. “While the government devotes a portion of its lengthy memorandum to the statements and actions of other alleged members of the Proud Boys, none of the footage suggests that Mr. Nordean himself was involved in anything more serious or sinister.”
The Justice Department accuses Nordean of preparing for the Capitol breach by gearing up and gathering money, according to records found in his home. Prosecutors said he was seen leading a Proud Boys group into D.C. and was seen going inside the Capitol.
Other members of the far-right group have been charged in connection to the riot that resulted in five deaths, including Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick.
Canada declared the Proud Boys as a terrorist group last week in the wake of the Capitol attack.
The Proud Boys became more well-known after former President Trump declined to condemn them at a presidential debate last fall, instead saying, “Stand back and stand by,” which some members perceived as support.