A federal judge on Monday ordered two leaders of the far-right Proud Boys extremist group to be arrested and jailed while awaiting trial on charges they planned and coordinated an attack on the U.S. Capitol to stop Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s electoral victory.
Joseph Biggs and Ethan Nordean had been free since their March 10 indictment, but U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly concluded that the two men are dangerous and no conditions for their release could be adequate. The judge said Biggs and Nordean “facilitated political violence” even if they weren't armed and didn't assault anybody at the Capitol on Jan. 6.
Kelly overruled another federal judge in Washington, D.C., who had ordered pretrial home confinement for Nordean. Biggs was freed after his initial Jan. 20 arrest in his home state of Florida. Justice Department prosecutors initially didn't seek to keep Biggs jailed but last month asked for his pretrial release to be revoked, saying new evidence shows he poses a “grave danger" to the community.
Attorneys for Biggs and Nordean asked Kelly to suspend Monday's ruling pending a possible appeal, but the judge denied their request.
Biggs and Nordean are among more than two dozen Capitol riot defendants who have been described by federal authorities as Proud Boys leaders, members or associates.
Last month's indictment charged Biggs, Nordean and two other men described as Proud Boys leaders with conspiring to impede Congress’ certification of the Electoral College vote. Other charges in the indictment include obstruction of an official proceeding, obstruction of law enforcement during civil disorder and disorderly conduct.
Zachary Rehl and Charles Donohoe are charged in the same indictment as Biggs and Nordean and have been jailed since their arrests in March.
Police arrested the Proud Boys' top leader, Enrique Tarrio, in Washington two days before the riot and charged him with vandalizing a Black Lives Matter banner at a historic Black church during a protest in December. Tarrio, who was ordered to stay out of the District of Columbia, hasn’t been charged in connection with the Capitol siege.