On Thursday, Jeremy Bertino, who is a top lieutenant to Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio, pleaded guilty to seditious conspiracy in federal court. In addition, he has agreed to cooperate with the Department of Justice’s investigation into the extremist group.
Proud Boys are notorious for their hateful, far-right ideology. Bertino is the first member of the organization to plead guilty to this type of conspiracy charge. He also pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of a firearm by a prohibited person.
According to his plea deal, he could wind up spending more than five years in prison. However, prosecutors could ask a judge for less time depending on how much he cooperates with the investigation.
The next hearing Bertino is scheduled for is February 2023. He won’t be held in jail during that time but he won’t have access to a passport or guns. Bertino is also forbidden from returning to Washington unless it is to see prosecutors or engage in court proceedings.
In previous indictments, he was referred to as “PERSON-1,” though he has not publicly faced charges. Though Bertino wasn’t at the Capitol riot, he could give important testimony for prosecutors in the Proud Boys seditious conspiracy trial. It’s set to start in December.
The indictment reveals that Bertino was present for various encrypted group chats during which January 6 plans were made. Prosecutors have already shared what they know about his involvement in the organization.
The chat groups included all of the Proud Boys sedition defendants: Tarrio, Ethan Nordean, Joseph Biggs, and Zachary Rehl. They have all pleaded not guilty. Bertino has already testified to the House select committee investigating January 6. A portion of his testimony was played during a public hearing in June.
Then indictment stated that after 1 p.m. on January 6, Bertino and others stated in a Proud Boys chat to “Push inside! Find some eggs and rotten tomatoes!” They also asked if “they deploy[ed] the mace yet.”
Publicly, Bertino addressed rioters by writing “DO NOT GO HOME. WE ARE ON THE CUSP OF SAVING THE CONSTITUTION.”
Hopefully, this is the beginning of the end of the Proud Boys. However, that doesn’t stop whiteness from being one helluva drug.