LOS ANGELES (CN) – A 22-year-old California man accused of being a member of a “combat-ready” white nationalist group pleaded guilty to federal charges Tuesday in connection to a violent brawl at a 2017 political protest in which several people were attacked.
In October, four suspected members of the white supremacist group Rise Above Movement or RAM were arrested on charges of plotting riots and inciting violence across the Golden State in 2017.
On Tuesday, Tyler Laube, 22, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to riot and admitted he was a member of RAM from January 2017 to April 2017. He also admitted he attended a hand-to-hand combat-training event in San Clemente, California, on March 15 and then assaulted counter-protesters and journalists at a “Make America Great Again” rally in Huntington Beach, California, on March 25.
According to the plea agreement, RAM used video footage and photographs from the Huntington Beach brawl to recruit new members. Federal prosecutors said those images featured Laube, group founder Robert Rundo, 28, and Robert Boman, 25, who were arrested last month. A fourth man named in a criminal indictment, Aaron Eason, 38, was also arrested.
“RAM represented itself as a combat-ready, militant group of a new nationalist white supremacy and identity movement,” according to the plea agreement.
As part of the plea agreement Laube faces between 12 and 33 months in prison.
Laube appeared before U.S. District Judge Cormac Carney on Tuesday wearing a white jumpsuit with chains around his ankles. Carney asked if Laube understood that he would be giving up his constitutional right by entering the plea agreement.
Carney asked if Laube had a history of mental illness or drug abuse.
“Two years ago, heroin and alcohol,” Laube replied.
Carney asked if this prior use would impair his judgment, but both Laube and his attorney said that he was mentally competent.
Laube’s attorney, Jerome Haig, added Laube has been sober for two years.
Outside the courtroom, Haig said he will argue that Laube was only member of RAM but not an organizer when the court determines his sentencing.
“My job will be to differentiate his minimal involvement,” said Haig.
At a bond hearing Tuesday afternoon, however, U.S. Magistrate Judge Maria Audero denied Laube’s request to be released on bail saying “there is nothing that stands between him and incarceration” since he’s already entered a plea.
She said he is more likely now to be a flight risk and ordered him detained by the U.S. Marshals.
Sentencing is set for March 25.
The four RAM members were indicted by a federal grand jury earlier this month, but Laube was the only suspect to be arrested on the conspiracy charge. Rundo, Boman and Eason face one count each of rioting and conspiracy.