Inside the Proud Boys Jury

More than a dozen right-wing extremists have now been convicted of seditious conspiracy against the United States for their role in Jan. 6.
Enrique Tarrio-proud-boys-jury
Enrique Tarrio, former chairman of the Proud Boys, was found guilty Thursday, May 4, 2023, of seditious conspiracy in the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol. He is seen here in Miami, where he lives, on July 16, 2021. (Pedro Portal / Miami Herald / Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

This content comes from the latest installment of our weekly Breaking the Vote newsletter out of VICE News’ D.C. bureau, tracking the ongoing efforts to undermine the democratic process in America. Sign up here to get it in your inbox every Friday.

With yesterday’s Proud Boys verdicts, 14 right-wing extremists have now been convicted of seditious conspiracy against the United States for their roles in planning and executing the Jan. 6 attack. 


Don’t miss VICE News’ Tess Owen on the trial, Enrique Tarrio, and the potential 20-year sentences the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers now face. 

Andre Mundell, a 63-year-old retired DC resident, sat on the Proud Boys jury hearing evidence since February. I sat down with Mundell just hours after the verdicts were rendered and jurors were excused. Our conversation has been edited for length. 

How quickly was the jury convinced on the seditious conspiracy charges?

The first day we elected a foreman. After that, we all put out our initial impressions of the evidence. We all voted and most people saw the evidence pointed towards seditious conspiracy. By the second day we had pretty much established guilty verdicts on the conspiracy, since that was count number one. First of all, we had to establish that there was a conspiracy then that it was a seditious conspiracy, because that involved the use of force. Not to overthrow the government, but to interfere with the government by use of force. 

What evidence convinced you that the Proud Boys had entered into a seditious conspiracy? 

It was all the chatter. All the chats. Parler, Telegram…those telegram text messages back and forth. Nott just the chats, but also the private texts. I think that was what it boiled down to. What they had to say prior to Jan. 6 and the fact that they wanted to do so much in secret. And that's why the government couldn't  present too much of the evidence that they had already deleted, because it was unrecoverable. So, they didn't they definitely didn't want people to know. They didn't want everybody to know the plan, the Proud Boys, because then I guess it would have gotten out. And they didn't want it to get out.


Did it matter that there were significant amounts of messages deleted?

That factored in for me. It showed an absence of evidence of standing down. No one says, no, don't do this. We're not going to do this. There was none of that. And that was probably because they never said it. And the things that were affirming that they were going to be violent. They just kind of let it happen. 

Dominic Pezzola, “Spazzo”, was acquitted on seditious conspiracy. What was the difference there? Why was he acquitted when the others were found guilty? 

Well, he wasn't in leadership for one. And he only joined the Proud Boys in November or December of 2020.  So he didn't have a whole lot of time before Jan. 6. They have the different tiers you know, level 1 to level 4. Spazz was a 2 or 3 and on a fast track because he was so expressive of being a bad boy. We actually deadlocked on Spazz at first. But we got through that and said not guilty. Another factor was just that he wasn’t the brightest bulb on the porch. And may not have been bright enough to really know about the plan. So I said, well, poor guy.  He should've listened to his father-in-law, who told him “don’t go.” 

What did you think of these guys in court for all these weeks? What was their demeanor like? 

At the end Spazzo took the stand, and really let loose and showed who he really was. He got really hostile towards the prosecutor, saying “this is a show trial” and all of that. So that didn't play well with me. But we didn’t dwell on that so much, because that was kind of expected. (Zachary) Rehl  didn't get hostile. He just tried to play Mr. Innocent. And everybody's main argument was that they were there for peaceful protests. They wanted their voices to be heard. They want to stop the steal. 


Did you buy that?

Oh, no. You don't stop the steal by breaking into the Capitol and over-running the police lines and beating up on and spraying the police. Rehl really got caught on cross examination after he was adamant that he never sprayed a police officer (with chemicals.) On cross that  all fell apart when the video came out and it showed that he was  spraying towards the cops.

Did you watch them during the verdict?

Yeah, Rehl cried.  But he had cried on the stand. too. And spares had cried  on the stand. Enrique Terrio was kind of smug. He had kind of a smile because that's how he plays it. You know, he's the CEO. He was there for the notoriety. He was like an egomaniac to me. He always wanted to be the center of attention. And even though he got arrested on the fourth, he kind of was still calling the shots behind the scenes with those who he wanted to talk to.

Donald Trump famously told the Proud Boys, in September 2020 at the presidential debate, to “stand back and stand by.” That came out in evidence in the trial. How important was that? 

It was part of it. You can't single out one thing but the debate kind of got the ball rolling that the Proud Boys need to be part of this. We need to wait for the President to set things up. Then the tweet came (on Dec. 19) and Trump said, “Be there, will be wild.” So they were there and they were wild. 


It was reported at one point that a juror complained to the judge that she thought she was being followed.  Did you have any experiences during the trial where you felt your safety was in question?

No, not at all. The juror who thought she was being followed, she came in and told the jurors that. The next day she told the judge. They investigated, and it turns out it was a homeless man. I thought she was being a little paranoid.  

Did you feel like this was an impartial jury that was focused on the facts of the case and nothing else?

I do. One juror was anti-Trump, and she was hoping to weave him into conspiracies and such. But the evidence doesn't show anything that Trump did other than “be there, will be wild” and “stand back and stand by.” That was his contribution. Other than that, everyone was focused. I think they got a fair trial. And the reason I know that is that I'm now able to look things up and I’m learning all about the sidebars and motions and disputes. And I think we were very clear with the evidence we got. 

Do you feel like you contributed something important to the country?

Oh, God. Yes. Yeah. I mean, it's heavy. That's part of why I need to decompress.

I think it's huge. It's something that needed to happen. I definitely think it's important because otherwise, somebody might get the idea that this is okay to do again.

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Flip it and reverse it 

This newsletter warned several weeks ago that the new GOP majority on the North Carolina Supreme Court was about to reverse itself and open the floodgates on partisan gerrymandering to advantage Republicans. This week it came true. 

North Carolina is politically an evenly-divided state. I’ve previously described how Republicans are tired of competing in even-playing field elections, and how they went on a long-term mission to make sure they don’t have to. Last year, the Democratic-controlled Supreme Court threw out gerrymandered congressional maps in favor of one that gave Republicans and Democrats seven seats each in the state’s congressional delegation. 

Well, the new GOP court majority fixed all that. The new court agreed to rehear that decision, after granting just 2 rehearings out of 214 petitions in the last three decades. As of this week partisan gerrymandering is legal again in N.C., and so is a voter-ID law the previous court rejected as “tainted with racial bias.” 


Smith & Questions

Before last Friday a vice president had never testified in any criminal probe, let alone one focused on his former boss’s effort to steal a presidential election. That might explain why Special Counsel Jack Smith showed up in person for former veep Mike Pence’s five-hour grand jury testimony in the federal probe of the coup attempt and Jan. 6 insurrection. 

Pence and Trump both tried to keep Pence out of that grand jury. But a federal appeals court shot down Trump’s executive privilege claims last week, and Pence appeared shortly after. 

Meanwhile, Smith’s prosecutors are still digging into whether Trump’s political operation defrauded donors by raising $250 million by claiming he needed the money to reverse a stolen election…when they knew it hadn’t been stolen.

From inside the house

It looks like Jack Smith has a cooperating witness inside Mar-a-Lago in the documents case. 


Special agent provocateur

Fox News and other right-wing media are rife with conspiracy theories that the FBI provoked very peaceful and meek MAGA protesters into reluctantly forming a riot-mob on Jan. 6. Now a former FBI special agent with deep ties to the far-right is charged with being a rioter himself. 

Jared Wise was arrested and charged with four misdemeanors for participating in the riot and illegally entering the Capitol. He also called police “Nazis” and “the Gestapo” and urged rioters attacking police to “kill ‘em!” After the FBI,  Wise trained with other right-wing operatives at the ranch of Blackwater founder Erik Prince to infiltrate and disrupt labor unions. And what was Wise’s job at the agency? Supervisory special agent in charge of Homegrown Violent Extremism.

Warning: Flood zone 

CNN is going ahead with plans to host Donald Trump in a live “town hall” broadcast with New Hampshire GOP primary voters next week. I want to withhold judgment, but in a world where news outlets–especially cable networks–must find effective new strategies for covering a proven anti-democratic candidate, there’s reason to worry.. 


The network says they’re ready to treat Trump like any other candidate. Except Trump isn’t any other candidate. He’s one that tried to steal a presidential election and incited violence to do it. He lies so effortlessly that a CNN reporter rocketed to fame just by trying to fact-check him. 

There’s a real danger here. Trump routinely “floods the zone with shit” in these live formats. Even prepared and well-intentioned journalists can typically push back on only one false assertion by the time Trump has spewed seven more. The result is a real-time propaganda mess that live questioning and post-hoc fact checking can’t staunch.. The bigger danger is that the networks who let ratings drive their promotion of Trump in 2016 are going to do it all over again.  

Some networks are beginning to grapple with the dangers of carrying Trump live, instead of broadcasting him if and when he makes news. CNN has actually made some important progress too. Anyway here are a bunch of good questions the moderator can try to ask Trump while they have him.

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“Somehow, nationwide, we have to make lying wrong.” - Suzy Roberts, after ousting the  clerk of Adams County, Mich., who tampered with voting machines and pushed stolen-election conspiracies.

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We want rejectability — Lying about losing, fomenting an insurrection, spurring on seditionists. For all of Trump’s depredations, one thing you’ll hardly find in any of his challengers (or would-be challengers) is criticism of any of it. The reason is that Trump’s propaganda has become fully entrenched in the GOP base, and they want more of it. Here’s proof. New polling shows six in ten Republicans want candidates who talk about Trump’s stolen electron. Even more think that it’s a good reason to vote for Trump. 

Fake the Funk — A clerk in Flint Township, Michigan got six months house arrest for tampering with a ballot box to avoid a recount in her 2020 race. Democrat Kathy Funk narrowly won her primary, but then broke the seal on a ballot box so that it could be used in a recount. For that a judge ordered her to wear an ankle monitor and write a public apology.

Clerk can’t — Meanwhile, down in (very) rural Hillsdale County’s Adams Township, clerk Stephanie Scott was just recalled and kicked out of office. Scott, a big lie backer, was stripped of her clerking duties in 2021 after tampering with voting equipment and refusing to let auditors inspect machines. Scott’s challenger, Suzy Roberts, won a recall election 402 to 214, in a county where Trump won more than 75% of the vote in 2020.

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Here’s why E. Jean Caroll’s case is so damning.


DeSantis’s election police take an extensive toll.


MAGA is ripping itself apart.