WASHINGTON (CN) — Only a day after jurors heard a defense argument that Enrique Tarrio was a friend to law enforcement, prosecutors turned the tables to heap suspicion on the police officer known to be communicating with the leader of the Proud Boys before the insurrection.
With the defense having opened the door to Tarrio's relationship with Lt. Shane Lamond, an intelligence officer with the Metropolitan Police Department, prosecutors were able on redirect to point to various text messages that the men exchanged.
They “appear to be Lamond passing information onto Tarrio," FBI Special Agent Peter Dubrowski said of those messages Wednesday.
One example occurred on Dec. 11, 2020, the day before supporters of the outgoing President Donald Trump were set to hold rally in Washington called the Million MAGA March.
“Antifa should be staying up at BLM Plaza,” Lamond texted Tarrio. “Do you want me to let our uniformed officers know that or keep it to myself?”
The lieutenant added: “I will be around all night in case anything kicks off.”
Dubrowski, who works in counterintelligence, called it atypical for an officer to defer to a civilian about what to do with such information.
The jury also saw texts from Dec. 13, in which the officer said to Tarrio, “on a bright note, guy who stabbed you guys got locked up.” Here, too, Dubrowski called it out of the ordinary for law enforcement to divulge arrest information to a source.
Making this message more notable is that it was sent one day after Tarrio had committed a crime for which he would later plead guilty. On Dec. 12, he burned a flag from the group Black Lives Matter that he and other members of the Proud Boys took from a church in Washington.
Texts shown to the jury on Wednesday suggest Lamond, a 22-year veteran of the force, provided Tarrio information about the police investigation into the incident.
On Dec. 19, one week after the rally, Lamond texted Tarrio that the police wanted to talk to him about the banner and asked if there was a phone number he should provide. Tarrio responded that he was already contacted by Miami Dade law enforcement and told them he is “going to be in Washington on the sixth if they want to talk.”
Tarrio's visit to the capital on Jan. 6 never came to be. When he flew in two days before the insurrection, police apprehended him and charged with a misdemeanor for burning the flag. The terms of Tarrio's bond specifically barred him from entering Washington except for court-related matters.
Highlighting the messages that members of the Proud Boys exchanged on the messaging application Telegram on Dec. 20, Agent Dubrowski said they show they knew Tarrio was “going to jail and that that information should stay in the chat.”
In addition to police testimony about Tarrio's Jan. 4 arrest, the jury has heard testimony from a filmmaker about Tarrio’s release and how he did not immediately comply with the court order to stay out of Washington.
The court has barred prosecutors from telling the jury what crime Tarrio had committed.
While Tarrio did not breach the Capitol building himself on Jan. 6, the government says he was aware of the plot for the insurrection, including discussions about occupying buildings within the Capitol complex.
After the deadly riot at the Capitol, which caused Congress to briefly delay its certification of the 2020 election results, Tarrio received a five-month sentence in connection to his flag-burning crime.
The communications between Tarrio and Lamond led to the Metropolitan Police Department placing the officer on administrative leave in February 2022. Defense attorneys wanted Lamond to testify in Tarrio’s trial, insisting in a pretrial motion that “Lamond would provide exculpatory testimony negating Tarrio’s alleged criminal intent.” The government refused to seek immunity for the lieutenant to testify, however, on the basis that Lamond is still under investigation and that testifying could open him up to potential criminal charges.
U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly, a Trump appointee, is presiding over the trial. Aside from Tarrio, the other defendants on the docket are Joseph Biggs, of Ormond Beach, Florida, who was sergeant-at-arms for Proud Boys; Ethan Nordean, a chapter president for the group from Auburn, Washington; Zachary Rehl, former president of the Proud Boys chapter in Philadelphia; and Dominic Pezzola, a Proud Boys member from Rochester, New York.
The indictment states the five defendants “directed, mobilized and led members of the crowd onto the Capitol grounds and into the Capitol, leading to dismantling of metal barricades, destruction of property, breaching of the Capitol building, and assaults on law enforcement.”
Tarrio and the others each face nine charges, including one count of seditious conspiracy and one count of conspiracy to prevent an officer from discharging any duties. Pezzola is also facing a robbery charge. All have pleaded not guilty.
A seditious conspiracy charge carries up to 20 years in prison.
The government has so far charged approximately 985 people in connection with the Capitol riot. As of Feb. 6, about 375 people had pleaded guilty to misdemeanors, and about 125 had pleaded guilty to felonies. Approximately 220 people have been sentenced to prison time.
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