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New Yorker from Capitol riot is first member of Proud Boys to plead guilty

Matthew Greene could help the Justice Department understand how the right-wing extremist group planned and executed the insurrection on Jan. 6. 

WASHINGTON (CN) — In a breakthrough among high-level prosecutions of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, a member of the Proud Boys became the first member of the group to plead guilty Wednesday and agree to help the investigation. 

Matthew Greene, 34, is a member of the New York chapter of the far-right extremist organization, though his attorney Michael Kasmarek says that Greene was at the very bottom of the Proud Boys totem pole, having only attended meetings from November 2020 to January 2021. From jail, Greene would later disavow his brief membership. 

“The defendant has concluded that his personal beliefs and ethics do not align with those of the Proud Boys,” Kasmarek wrote in a June motion to secure pretrial release.

U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly denied the motion.

Greene's indictment says he was one of the first people to trample down police barriers, later informing one associate of his deeds via encrypted message. “I'm good," he wrote, "we took the capital.” He also helped to coordinate travel, lodging, communication supplies and clothing with other Proud Boys. 

On Wednesday, however, Kasmarek emphasized Greene's lack of criminal history and that there is no evidence Greene ever entered the Capitol building or destroyed any property. Kasmarek also credited Greene for stopping to help a fellow rioter whom police shot in the face with a pepper-ball projectile. 

Greene pleaded guilty to two felony charges, conspiracy and obstruction of an official proceeding, and faces between 41 and 51 months in prison plus a fine of $15,000 to $150,000 fine.

“Guilty, your honor,” Greene said in court on Wednesday.

If he provides a “substantial” amount of help to the Justice Department in their sweeping Jan. 6 probe, prosecutors say they might decrease their sentencing recommendation.

Greene is set to be sentenced on March 10. 

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