Prosecutors ask court to jail Proud Boys leader before trial

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal prosecutors are urging a judge to order a North Carolina man jailed while awaiting trial on charges he plotted with other members of the far-right Proud Boys group to storm the U.S. Capitol to stop Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s electoral victory.

Justice Department prosecutors said in a court filing on Friday that Charles Donohoe, 33, of Kernersville, “played a direct role in unleashing violence on the Capitol” and celebrated online after the attack.

While conceding that they don’t have any evidence that Donohoe entered the Capitol on Jan. 6, prosecutors claim he was “heavily involved” in planning, organizing and leading a coordinated assault on the building.

“When it came time to act, (Donohoe) did so without hesitation — advancing past barriers and joining in efforts to push past law enforcement,” prosecutors wrote.

Donohoe, a Marine Corps veteran, was arrested on March 17 in North Carolina after he and three other alleged Proud Boys leaders were indicted on conspiracy charges.

Donohoe is one of at least 20 leaders, members or associates of the neo-fascist Proud Boys charged in federal court with offenses related to the Jan. 6 riots.

Other charges in the March 10 indictment against Donohoe, Ethan Nordean, Joseph Biggs and Zachary Rehl include obstruction of an official proceeding, obstruction of law enforcement during civil disorder and disorderly conduct. Prosecutors also are seeking pretrial detention for the other three men charged in the indictment.

U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly in Washington, D.C., has scheduled an April 1 hearing for the case against the four men.

An attorney who represented Donohoe after his arrest didn’t respond to an email seeking comment.

Nordean, 30, of Auburn, Washington, was a Proud Boys chapter president and member of the group’s national “Elders Council.” Biggs, 37, of Ormond Beach, Florida, is a self-described Proud Boys organizer. Rehl, 35, of Philadelphia, and Donohoe serve as presidents of their local Proud Boys chapters, according to the indictment.

Proud Boys members, who describe themselves as a politically incorrect men’s club for “Western chauvinists,” have frequently engaged in street fights with antifascist activists at rallies and protests. Vice Media co-founder Gavin McInnes, who founded the Proud Boys in 2016, sued the Southern Poverty Law Center for labeling it as a hate group.

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