Federal prosecutors Friday night announced the first conspiracy charges against members of the Proud Boys over the group’s role in the deadly Jan. 6 riot in the Capitol.
Prosecutors said in a news release that two members of the far-right “Western chauvinist” group conspired to obstruct law enforcement officers’ efforts to protect the Capitol from the mob. The members, Dominic Pezzola of Rochester, N.Y., and William Pepe of Beacon, N.Y., had already been charged with lesser offenses from their activities on Jan. 6.
The new charges represented a substantial step up in prosecutors’ actions against Proud Boys members. More than 170 people have been charged over the riot, though most have been over minor allegations such as disorderly conduct and unlawful entry.
Conspiracy charges were also previously announced against three members of the militia group the Oath Keepers over their alleged role in the chaos on Capitol Hill.
Prosecutors said Pezzola and Pepe “engaged in a conspiracy to obstruct, influence, impede, and interfere with law enforcement officers engaged in their official duties in protecting the U.S. Capitol and its grounds on Jan. 6, 2021.”