Proud Boys members Ethan Nordean and Joseph Biggs will return to custody following a D.C. federal judge’s decision to revoke their bail after new evidence presented by prosecutors.
WASHINGTON, D.C. (CN) — A D.C. federal judge said Monday that bail will be revoked for two leaders of the right-wing extremist group Proud Boys amid new evidence concerning the pair’s role in the Capitol riot.
Ethan Nordean, 30, of Washington state and Joseph Biggs, 37, of Florida were indicted by a grand jury on March 10 for their involvement in the Jan. 6 insurrection attempt at the U.S. Capitol.
They were released while awaiting trial but will return to jail after the government renewed a request to have them returned to custody.
“The defendants stand charged with seeking to steal one of the crown jewels of our country, in a sense, by interfering with the peaceful transfer of power,” said U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Kelly, a Donald Trump appointee, during a hearing Monday.
Kelly’s move, after he determined that Biggs and Nordean may have played a key role in orchestrating the Proud Boys’ attack, reversed his earlier decision to let the two men walk free before their trials.
Both Biggs and Nordean are charged with conspiring to stop the certification of the 2020 election, among other allegations.
Prosecutors presented new evidence against Nordean and Biggs, including encrypted messages and social media posts from them that threatened violence against lawmakers who planned to certify the election. They say the duo had growing leadership roles within the Proud Boys in the days leading up to the deadly riot that took five lives on Jan. 6.
Prosecutors say Nordean helped plan the group’s tactical strategy before the attack, including recommending that members divide into smaller groups and overtake the police, and participated in efforts to hide the group’s text conversations from police.
Biggs, they say, was an on-the-ground point of contact for Proud Boys members that day.
Prosecutors seek to hold the pair responsible for their alleged role in planning the organization’s moves and, partially, for damage caused by a fellow Proud Boy who smashed a window with a riot shield during the insurrection.
While the two may not have hurt anyone themselves, Kelly noted that they had “facilitated political violence.”
The Proud Boys, a group that has been involved in several violent political protests, was categorized by the FBI as an extremist group with ties to white nationalism in 2018.
Politico reports that some members of the Proud Boys were among the first in the crowd to breach the Capitol on Jan. 6.
More than 400 people have been arrested and charged with crimes related to the attack on the Capitol.