- Telegram conversations obtained by the FBI show how the Proud Boys squabbled after the Capitol riot.
- Audio transcripts were released in Seattle chapter leader Ethan Nordean’s court filing.
- They show members worried about arrests and others angry that some even went to DC.
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Proud Boys members squabbled in private conversations after the Capitol riot, according to newly-released audio transcripts in a group leader’s court case.
Ethan Nordean, a 30-year-old described as the “Sergeant of Arms” of the Proud Boys’ Seattle chapter, was arrested in February and charged with obstructing or impeding an official proceeding, aiding and abetting, and knowingly entering a restricted building, according to the Associated Press.
The most serious charge against Nordean, who also goes by the alias “Rufio Panman,” carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.
‘We are f—ed’
Court documents released on Tuesday detailed audio files investigators had recovered from Nordean’s cell phone, that were exchanged on Telegram, an encrypted-messaging service that has become popular with far-right groups.
In the conversation, individuals who appeared to be fellow Proud Boys members expressed worry about the ongoing investigation and arrests of people involved in the Capitol riot, while others chastised the members who took part in the riot.
“We are f—ed … they are coming for us,” one person said in one of the audio files.
There was also a discussion speculating about how solid of a case federal prosecutors were building. One individual commented that “feds don’t charge until they have a lot of evidence,” and if they “have enough evidence they are not going to offer much of a plea” deal.
“They’re going to throw the f—ing book at us,” one individual said in one of the audio files.
There appeared to be a lot of intergroup conflict in the audio transcripts as well, with some individuals unhappy that members even went to Washington, DC, in the first place.
According to the transcript, one individual said that he was confused about what happened in Washington because he thought they had voted not to go.
One individual said the “Warboys” went to DC and it “completely f—ing crashed and burns on us … good job with the comms, good job with the security, good job with legal … I mean f—ing ‘Tifa looks like professionals compared to us,” in an apparent reference to the antifa movement.
Another audio file included a comment about Nordean getting “lost in the sauce” and that the Proud Boys’ top leader, Enrique Tarrio, should step down. Another individual said that members under indictment should leave leadership positions.
The Proud Boys appeared to splinter after the Capitol riot, particularly after Tarrio was found to be an FBI informant for many years.
The Daily Beast reported in February that regional branches of the Proud Boys had been distancing themselves from central leadership since that revelation.
Tarrio was arrested before the Capitol riot for an unrelated charge of burning a Black Lives Matter flag at a Black church. Before the Capitol riot, Nordean was known for fighting left-wing demonstrators in Portland, Oregon, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Nordean said he no longer supported Trump
Nordean himself chimed into the conversation at points to defend his actions. He said he led others so they didn’t go astray, according to the transcript.
“I understand where we’re at in the frat. I understand that we’ve taken some risks that we shouldn’t have taken. We’ve done some things we shouldn’t have done. Ok but they’ve been done and we need to learn from ’em,” Nordean said, according to the transcript.
Nordean also said, according to the transcript, that he was no longer a Trump supporter and expressed regret for going to his rallies. He said he thought he was fighting for some secret plan that didn’t come to fruition, and didn’t disagree that things went bad.
Nordean is currently in jail awaiting trial. He was initially released on pretrial confinement, but US District Judge Timothy Kelly reversed that decision in April, saying he was dangerous and no conditions for his release would be adequate, according to the AP.