Presence of Trump-friendly DOJ prosecutor on Proud Boys riot case raises crimson flags

Ballantine, as Wheeler details, engaged in a sample of misconduct in dealing with the Flynn case that would simply end in a federal decide dismissing the case. And because the Proud Boys’ attorneys made clear of their filings this week demanding that key gamers within the riot, together with leaders Joe Biggs and Ethan Nordean, be granted pretrial launch, their major technique seems to be aimed toward acquiring precisely that sort of abstract dismissal of the costs.

Wheeler factors to 3 particular acts by Ballantine within the Flynn matter that elevate issues:

  • On Sept. 23, she supplied three paperwork that have been altered to Sidney Powell, one in all which Trump used six days later in a packaged debate assault on Joe Biden.
  • On Sept. 24, she submitted an FBI interview report that redacted data—references to Brandon Van Grack—that was materials to the proceedings earlier than Choose Emmet Sullivan.
  • On Oct. 26, she claimed that legal professionals for Peter Strzok and Andrew McCabe had checked their shoppers’ notes to substantiate there have been no different alterations to paperwork submitted to the docket; each legal professionals refused to evaluation the paperwork.

Having a prosecutor on the Proud Boys prosecution group (not to mention overseeing it) with a doubtful conduct historical past poses critical dangers for his or her success, and certainly for the broader prosecution: “Given Ballantine’s previous actions, it dangers sabotaging the complete January 6 investigation,” Wheeler observes.

The potential of a bungled federal prosecution within the Proud Boys case raises the specter of an analogous botch job in a serious case involving right-wing extremists: Specifically in 2018, when prosecutorial misconduct involving proof sharing pressured the federal decide overseeing the case towards rancher Cliven Bundy for his 2014 armed standoff with federal authorities to order all costs dismissed—one in all several cases of misconduct involving that U.S. Legal professional’s workplace. That dismissal, with prejudice, was upheld on appeal.

The attorneys for Biggs and Nordean, in the meantime, made a fresh appeal for his or her shoppers’ pretrial launch to dwelling confinement, claiming the lads posed neither a critical flight danger nor any risk to public security within the interim. The attorneys introduced clips from a video shot on Jan. 6 in D.C. by fellow Proud Boys member Eddie Block, claiming they demonstrated that the group really supposed to carry their “massive occasion” afterward at The Ellipse, not on the Capitol.

“There’s no conspiracy,” protection legal professional John Hull mentioned. “… So, [with] no conspiracy, about 80% of the entire case falls aside.”

Prosecutors famous that Block’s statements within the clips are contravened by the lads’s demonstrated actions that day, which included Nordean and Biggs tearing down a police barrier. In addition they reminded the decide of encrypted texts the lads shared that day making ready for riot on Jan. 6.

Prosecutors warned that the defendants’ launch would imply “there’s no strategy to police” every other potential planning the lads would possibly take part in with different Proud Boys members: “That’s a major, potential hazard to the neighborhood,” Assistant U.S. Legal professional Jason McCullough mentioned.

In different Jan. 6-related developments:

  • Accountability arrived for the Capitol Law enforcement officials who behaved as congenial hosts to the insurrectionists on Jan. 6. The agency announced it had taken disciplinary motion towards six officers following an inside investigation.

There have been 38 inside investigations involving officer conduct on Jan. 6, with 26 totally different officers recognized, Capitol Police reported. There was no wrongdoing present in 20 of the circumstances.

Three of the six officers have been disciplined for “conduct unbecoming;” one other for improper remarks; one for improper dissemination of knowledge; and one for “failure to adjust to directives.”

“The six sustained circumstances shouldn’t diminish the heroic efforts of america Capitol Law enforcement officials. On January 6, the bravery and braveness exhibited by the overwhelming majority of our staff was inspiring,” the discharge mentioned.

  • FBI agents arrested a girl from Allentown, Pennsylvania, who had crammed her social-media pages with QAnon conspiracy theories and calls for for an “Military of Patriots” to grab management of the federal government, previous to invading the Capitol with different right-wing extremists on Jan. 6.

Prosecutors detailed Kelly O’Brien’s prolific rants on social media main as much as Jan. 6. One dated Nov. 26, 2020, asserted: “We don’t riot. We combat. We’re an Military of Patriots. You’ll know us while you see us. There will probably be no ambiguity. Put together your self.”

On Dec. 19, 2020, O’Brien posted: “WE ARE IN A BATTLE between GOOD and evil. Make no mistake about that. Elders are cheering us on and imagine that WE ARE GOING TO BE THE GREATEST GENERATION of their lifetime. And so they lived by way of WWII. Are you going to combat or are you weak. Tell us now. WE NEED PATRIOTS! WE NEED FREEDOM FIGHTERS! Now!”

The day after Christmas, one other used posted: “You may vote your manner into socialism however it’s important to shoot your manner out of it!” O’Brien responded: “We would need to.”

After the riot on Jan. 8, amid a dialogue of Trump’s refusal to concede to Joe Biden, O’Brien asserted that “The whole lot is occurring in accordance with Q plan. So scared.”

  • A former FBI special agent remarked on MSNBC that the insurrectionists’ targets have been chosen not by motion leaders or members, however reasonably by elected politicians like Donald Trump and Missouri Republican Sen. Josh Hawley.

“It’s our political leaders which might be doing this greater than home extremists,” Clint Watts, a Joint Terrorism Activity Pressure veteran, mentioned. “What you see proper there President Trump advised them they have been going to the Capitol that day. They didn’t choose the Capitol, he mentioned it, his organizers they promoted it, his fellow congressmen within the GOP, they promoted it.

“It was Josh Hawley on the market fist-bumping the gang, proper? Earlier than it went in,” he added. “That’s the factor we search for to see, hey, the place are they tipping to. For essentially the most half, the teams aren’t choosing the targets. It’s the elected leaders.”

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