Proud Boys defense claims law enforcement had at least 40 undercover agents at Jan 6 riot
FILE - Rioters wave flags on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021. Federal prosecutors are employing an unusual strategy to prove leaders of the far-right Proud Boys extremist group orchestrated a violent plot to keep President Joe Biden out of the White House, even though some of the defendants didn't carry out the violence themselves. AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

In a trial against leaders from the right-wing group The Proud Boys, defense attorneys claim they are aware of at least 40 undercover informants embedded within the group and other right-wing protesters at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

In their filing, the defense says that the FBI, Homeland Security and D.C. Metro Police were all embedded within the group, who are accused of being complicit in the initiation of the Capitol riot.

Last week, an FBI informant embedded within The Proud Boys on Jan. 6, identified in the record only by the name "Aaron," testified for the defense. The witness said he was not aware of any plans by the Proud Boys to invade the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6 and didn't think they inspired the violent rioting that took place.

The crowd did as a herd mentality. Not organized," the informant named "Aaron" wrote in a text message to his handler, according to The Associated Press.

While the defense for The Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio and four of his lieutenants have approached at least four FBI sources amid their efforts to build a defense for their clients, according to The Washington Post, the latest filing from defendant Dominic Pezzola indicates two law enforcement agencies operated even more undercover agents on Jan. 6 than the FBI.

Those agencies include Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), which the filing claims had 19 Confidential Human Sources (CHSs) operating at the Capitol on Jan. 6, and D.C. Metro Police, which the filing claims had at least 13 undercover plain-clothes agents among The Proud Boys and others.

In total, with the FBI, that amounts to at least 40 CHSs embedded with protesters and rioters when the U.S. Capitol building was breached on Jan. 6, according to attorneys for Pezzola.   

Individuals who have already been convicted, or who are on trial for their actions at the Capitol on Jan. 6, have been alleged to be undercover informants.

Edward Rodriguez, who the defense for several Jan. 6 defendants has identified as being an undercover officer, pled guilty to a felony charge for assaulting a Capitol Police officer with bear spray on Jan. 6, NBC News reported last month. The Post has also reported that at least two FBI CHSs are on trial.

The National Desk (TND) reached out to the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice and D.C. Metro Police for comment. Only the Department of Justice responded, saying "we will make our response through our court filings."

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