Court Battles

Prosecutors allege Proud Boys plotted to breach Capitol from multiple points

Federal prosecutors alleged in a motion filed Monday that a leader of the Proud Boys was tasked with leading multiple groups in the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 through as many points as possible.

Prosecutors allege that Ethan Nordean, who also goes by "Rufio Panman," was "nominated from within to have 'war powers' and to take ultimate leadership of the Proud Boys' activities on January 6, 2021."

Nordean, 30, allegedly directed the Proud Boys on Jan. 6 through encrypted messages and "military-style equipment" to carry out their plan. Prosecutors wrote that he directed others to "split up into groups, attempt to break into the Capitol building from as many different points as possible, and prevent the Joint Session of Congress from Certifying the Electoral College results."

Prosecutors brought up social media posts allegedly made by Nordean shortly after the presidential election that called into question the legitimacy of the results. On Nov. 16, Nordean allegedly made a post calling for "Any militia groups" in the Pacific Northwest to contact him.

In one post in November, prosecutors say Nordean wrote: "We tried playing nice and by the rules, now you will deal with the monster you created. The spirit of 1776 has resurfaced and has created groups like the Proudboys and we will not be extinguished. We will grow like the flame that fuels us and spread like love that guides us. We are unstoppable, unrelenting and now....unforgiving."

Nordean also allegedly used social media to crowdfund money to buy tactical vests and "military-style equipment," according to authorities. Messages obtained by prosecutors allegedly show that Nordean told another person via an encrypted messaging app that he had "stormed the capitol" and had stolen a flag from inside.

In their Monday filing, prosecutors also argue Nordean is a flight risk, writing that passports were found on his dresser when his arrest warrant was executed. One reportedly belonged to Nordean's wife, while the other belonged to an ex-boyfriend of Nordean's wife. A passport for the Proud Boys leader was not found.

Prosecutors called Nordean's reasons for having the other man's passport "absurd." He allegedly told authorities that his wife kept her ex-boyfriend's passport as a "keepsake."

Nordean was arrested in Washington state on Feb. 3 and was charged with aiding and abetting an injury or depredation against government property, obstructing an official proceeding, entering a restricted building without lawful authority and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.

A federal judge ruled in early February that Nordean could be released on condition of a nightly curfew and restrictions on travel and communication with other witnesses. Prosecutors had warned that Nordean could plan future attacks on the federal government.

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