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Looking for Hyperlink to Trump, Prosecutors Questioned Proud Boys Chief

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Final October, a number of months earlier than he went to trial on sedition costs linked to the assault on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, Enrique Tarrio, the previous chief of the Proud Boys, bought an invite: The federal prosecutors in command of his case requested him and his legal professionals to sit down down for a gathering.

Throughout that assembly, Mr. Tarrio recounted on Friday in a telephone interview from jail, the prosecutors informed him that they believed he had communicated within the run-up to the riot with President Donald J. Trump by means of a minimum of three intermediaries.

The prosecutors, Mr. Tarrio mentioned, provided him leniency if he may corroborate their concept.

Mr. Tarrio mentioned he informed them they have been fallacious. And the dialogue with prosecutors — which came about in Miami, Mr. Tarrio’s hometown — apparently went nowhere. Mr. Tarrio was later convicted of seditious conspiracy in federal courtroom in Washington and was sentenced on Tuesday to 22 years in jail.

It stays unclear what proof, if any, the federal government needed to help its competition that Mr. Trump had communicated, even not directly, with Mr. Tarrio within the weeks main as much as the Capitol assault — or if prosecutors have been merely fishing for data.

Not one of the costs that Mr. Trump now faces in two indictments stemming from his efforts to overturn the 2020 election accuse him of encouraging or instigating the bodily assault on the Capitol.

Neither a spokeswoman for the U.S. legal professional’s workplace in Washington, which prosecuted the Proud Boys case, nor a spokesman for the particular counsel, Jack Smith, who’s overseeing Mr. Trump’s election interference case, responded to messages searching for remark.

Mr. Tarrio provided his account of the assembly throughout a 30-minute interview from the Washington jail the place he’s being held pending switch to a federal jail. His sentence of twenty-two years for seditious conspiracy and different costs stemming from the Capitol assault was probably the most extreme penalty to have been imposed up to now on any of the greater than 1,150 folks charged in reference to the riot.

Through the interview, Mr. Tarrio declined to establish any of the three folks prosecutors mentioned they believed he had used as intermediaries to talk with Mr. Trump. However he particularly denied that one in all them was Roger J. Stone Jr., an affiliate who can also be a longtime political adviser to Mr. Trump.

Prosecutors have requested questions on Mr. Stone in grand jury interviews with witnesses and have examined ties between the Proud Boys who went to trial on sedition costs and different members of the group who’re linked with Mr. Stone.

Earlier than his arrest, Mr. Tarrio, who took management of the Proud Boys in 2018, was a gadfly in right-wing circles and had a large acquaintance with folks in Mr. Trump’s internal and outer orbits.

He has been concerned in political rallies and different occasions with Bianca Gracia, the founding father of a gaggle referred to as Latinos for Trump, and with Alex Jones, the conspiracy theorist who runs the web site Infowars. He has additionally been photographed with distinguished Republicans like Mr. Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. and Senator Ted Cruz of Texas.

Through the sedition trial, prosecutors launched a textual content message that Mr. Tarrio wrote in November 2020 suggesting that he had coordinated some rallies the Proud Boys have been concerned in with Mr. Trump’s marketing campaign.

“The marketing campaign requested us to not put on colours to those occasions,” Mr. Tarrio wrote, referring to the Proud Boys’ conventional black-and-yellow outfits. “Preserve figuring out colours to a minimal.”

The assembly in Miami came about across the identical time that prosecutors formally prolonged plea offers to Mr. Tarrio and his 4 co-defendants: Joseph Biggs, Ethan Nordean, Zachary Rehl and Dominic Pezzola. Beneath the federal government’s provide, Mr. Tarrio may have acquired a lighter sentence of 9 to 11½ years in jail, in line with a replica of the plea offers launched by legal professionals within the case this week.

Throughout his interview from jail, Mr. Tarrio declined to touch upon the plea provide and whether or not he regretted not taking it. He additionally proclaimed that he was harmless of the fees within the case and that his sentence was extreme.

“I get that folks hate my guts,” he mentioned. “However this isn’t how the American system of justice is meant to work.”

As he did in courtroom on Tuesday, Mr. Tarrio denounced the violence on the Capitol, saying that he didn’t totally perceive the “gravity” of what occurred there on Jan. 6 till effectively after the assault had ended. He was in Baltimore that day, having been kicked out of Washington two days earlier by an area decide presiding over a separate legal matter.

As for the assembly with prosecutors, he mentioned it felt to him like a “shakedown” designed to get him to implicate Mr. Trump. And he was insistent that he had no connections to the previous president, who would have the ability, if re-elected, to pardon him or commute his sentence.

“There may be completely no connection between me and President Trump,” Mr. Tarrio mentioned.

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