A federal judge on Tuesday declined to dismiss a sprawling criminal indictment charging four accused leaders of the far-right extremist Proud Boys with conspiring to attack the US Capitol on January 6.
Defense attorneys representing the four men previously argued that the conduct of their clients, Ethan Nordean, Joseph Biggs, Zachary Rehl, and Charles Donohoe, was protected by the First Amendment right to free speech.
But Judge Timothy Kelly rejected the defendants’ motion to dismiss the charges against them in a Tuesday filing reviewed by Insider, arguing they could have used several other, non-violent means of expressing their thoughts about the 2020 election.
“No matter defendants’ political motivations or any political message they wished to express, this alleged conduct is simply not protected by the First Amendment,” wrote Kelly, who was appointed to the bench by former President Donald Trump. “Defendants are not, as they argue, charged with anything like burning flags, wearing black armbands, or participating in mere sit-ins or protests.” Read more.