Proud Boys – They Want to Get Him to Testify: Former President Donald Trump may be taking the stand in court next month, and it doesn’t have anything to do with the multiple grand juries looking into various potential cases against him.
Donald Trump Has a Proud Boys Problem
NBC News reported last week that members of the Proud Boys who are currently on trial on charges of seditious conspiracy in connection with their role in the January 6 insurrection plan to call the former president to testify.
Attorneys representing one of those defendants, Joe Biggs, issued a subpoena last week that would compel the former president’s appearance next month in court.
Biggs is on trial along with fellow Proud Boys Enrique Tarrio — the organization’s former leader — as well as Ethan Nordean, Zachary Rehl, and Dominic Pezzola. Another member of the group, Jeremy Bertino, has pled guilty and will testify against the other five.
“Donald Trump called on patriots to stop the steal,” said Biggs attorney Norm Pattis said, per NBC News.
“We’re calling on Donald Trump to take the stand.” Pattis has also called the Department of Justice for assistance in delivering the subpoena.
Pattis, known in the past for representing notorious conspiracy theorist and media figure Alex Jones, last year had his law license suspended for six months in the state of Connecticut after he released files related to the Sandy Hook mass shooting.
Another January 6 defendant, Dustin Thompson of Ohio, had attempted to serve Donald Trump with a subpoena last year, but the judge, in that case, blocked the subpoena.
What We Know
At issue in the case is the same issue likely at play in any possible criminal case against Donald Trump related to January 6: Does the former president bear responsibility for potential crimes committed by the people who came to Washington and attacked the Capitol?
One of Tarrio’s attorneys said earlier in the trial that the former president “unleashed the mob” ahead of the insurrection.
Fox News described it as a “long shot” that Trump will actually appear in court.
The Proud Boys are an all-male “Western Chauvinist” organization that was founded in the fall of 2016, shortly before Trump’s election, and their rise has been closely intertwined with Trump’s time in politics.
Gavin McInnes, the co-founder of the Vice media company, was their founder but has had only intermittent involvement with the organization since.
A frequent presence at street protests, the Proud Boys were invoked from the debate stage in a September 2020 presidential debate, when Trump told them to “stand back and stand by”; the group later put that slogan on t-shirts.
Tarrio, at the time the group’s leader, was not physically present for the January 6 insurrection, as he had been arrested two days earlier for vandalizing a “Black Lives Matter” flag belonging to a church in Washington.
Weeks later, it was reported that Tarrio had been a “prolific” law enforcement informant.
According to the New York Times, Jeremy Bertino testified in court this week that the Proud Boys prepared for “all out revolution” on January 6.
Bertino, who testified for 12 hours, did not attend the insurrection in person, as he was at home in North Carolina recovering from stab wounds.
“Brother, You know we made this happen,” Bertino texted Tarrio, in texts introduced at the trial. “I’m so proud of my country today.” But the group lost their enthusiasm as the day went on, and it became clear Biden would be certified as the winner.
Bertino also testified that when he was stabbed in a December altercation with left-wing activists, it made him and other Proud Boys question what they thought was an alliance with law enforcement.
“The tide was changing,” he said on the stand, per the Times. “Everything was shifting around us. We were becoming the enemies of the people.”
Expertise and Experience: Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.