A Proud Boys member who became one of the first to cross the police line at the US Capitol on Jan. 6, pleaded guilty on Wednesday and agreed to cooperate with the government — possibly against other members of the far-right extremist group, it said. the authorities.
The defendant, Matthew Greene, 34, of Syracuse, NY, was most likely the first member of the Proud Boys, a group describing themselves as “Western chauvinists,” to plead guilty to charges stemming from the riots, his attorney, Michael Kasmarek said Wednesday.
Mr. Greene was “one of the first wave” to storm the Capitol steps after the police line broke, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia said in a statement Wednesday. After coming down the stairs, he moved police barricades, prosecutors said. His attorney insists he never entered the Capitol.
Mr Greene and other members of the Proud Boys had agreed to communicate via programmable radios before the siege, prosecutors said. They were “deliberately dressed in clothing that disguised their membership as Proud Boys,” the statement said.
Mr. Greene spent much of the rally with Dominic Pezzola of Rochester, NY, who was seen smashing a Capitol window with a police shield in it. a much seen video. Mr. Pezzola, 44, was later identified in an indictment as part of a group that spoke about the murder of former Vice President Mike Pence and Chairman Nancy Pelosi. He pleaded not guilty to a litany of charges, prosecutors said.
Mr Greene faces up to 25 years in prison on one charge of conspiracy and one of obstruction of official proceedings, prosecutors said. But he could face a sentence of 41 to 51 months for agreeing to cooperate with investigators, Kasmarek said.
Understand the US Capitol Riots
On January 6, 2021, a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol.
He will be sentenced on March 10, prosecutors said. His lawyer would not say where he had been held until then.
After Mr. Greene returned home from the riots, he ordered more than 2,000 rounds of assault rifle ammunition and told an “acquaintance” to be “ready to do awkward things,” according to a motion prosecutors filed in June. The FBI seized his ammunition along with an AR-15 rifle and pistols while conducting a search of his home on Jan. 18.
Mr Greene was arrested in April and agreed to share information with the government, Mr Kasmarek said, adding that Mr Greene “wants to take responsibility for what he has done.”
Key figures in the January 6 survey
Prosecutors said the Proud Boys played a leading role in the attack that saw a pro-Trump mob storm the Capitol, injuring dozens of police officers in a frenzy that killed several people.
The organization, which has maintained ties to both avowed white supremacists and more mainstream Republicans, is a vocal — and often violent — supporter of former President Donald J. Trump. During one of the presidential debates, Mr. Trump appeared to show his support by telling his members to “step back and stand by.”
In the wake of the riots, federal authorities have used all their powers to investigate the organization. FBI agents have executed search warrants in New York, California, Florida, Missouri and Washington state.
Together with mr. Pezzola brought Mr. Greene also spent much of the meeting with William Pepe of Beacon, NY. The charges against Mr. Pepe, 32, have been described only scarcely. In a complaint filed Jan. 11, prosecutors said he used a day of sick leave to attend a “Stop the Steal” protest in Washington, DC, and was then photographed inside the Capitol.
Pepe has pleaded not guilty, prosecutors said.
More than 700 people have been charged since the siege, the Justice Department said, including members of the Oath Keepers, a 10-year-old anti-government militia. Four members of the group have pleaded guilty and are working with investigators.
Alan Feuer reporting contributed.