Judge Orders Bail for Proud Boy Arrested in Capitol Riot

Ethan Nordean, one of the highest-ranking Proud Boys to be arrested in connection with the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 will be released on bond over the objection of federal prosecutors.

(AP Photo/Andrew Selsky)

(CN) — One of the highest-ranking members of the Proud Boys to be arrested in connection with the Capitol riot on Jan. 6 was ordered released Monday by a federal judge despite prosecutors’ pleas to detain him as a flight risk. 

U.S. Magistrate Judge Brian Tsuchida ordered the release of Ethan Nordean, who also goes by the alias Rufio Panman, in advance of his trial on charges of destroying government property charges and a raft of lower charges in connection to the storming of the U.S. Capitol by pro-Trump rioters. 

Nordean must comply with a full suite of restrictions including agreeing to stay within the greater Seattle area, maintaining his current residence, abiding by a curfew and hewing to local Covid-19 restrictions regarding mask-wearing. 

“While you are out, you must maintain good conduct,” Tsuchida said during a bond hearing Monday.

Tsuchida did not order some of the most restrictive measures for prisoners released from jail but still deemed to be flight risks such as GPS monitoring or home detention. No bail amount has been set in the case. 

Prosecutors argued Nordean was a flight risk by noting investigators found a forged U.S. passport with a different name on his desk during a search of his home. The prosecution in the case says they plan to appeal Tsuchida’s order, meaning the right-wing activist might not be granted the freedom he seeks. 

The FBI said Nordean broke into the Capitol through a shattered window as part of what authorities are increasingly describing as a planned and coordinated assault by the Proud Boys on the legislative branch while it was carrying out one of its fundamental constitutional duties — the certification of electoral votes. 

FBI agents arrested Nordean last week and he has been held in jail since. 

Nordean’s lawyers say he is not a flight risk and the passport found on his dresser did not resemble him and is not enough evidence on its own to detain him in advance of a trial. 

They also say Nordean did not break the window through which he climbed and note he has no previous criminal history. 

Prosecutors say the case is open and shut and his many postings on social media encouraging a violent overthrow of the U.S. government combined with his actions on Jan. 6 warrant detainment until trial. 

The Proud Boys, recently categorized by Canada as a domestic terror group, is a far-right, neo-fascist, male-only white nationalist group that the Southern Poverty Law Center has dubbed an “alt-right fight club.”

Their notoriety increased when former President Donald Trump refused to denounce the group in the first presidential debate with then-Democratic candidate Joe Biden, telling them instead to “stand back and stand by.”

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