By Jan Wolfe
(Reuters) – A judge has denied the latest request by Enrique Tarrio, the former top leader of the right-wing group the Proud Boys, for release from jail while he awaits trial on criminal charges relating to last year’s attack on the U.S. Capitol.
In an order issued late on Friday night, U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly said the evidence against Tarrio is “very strong” and that measures like a bond and home confinement “do not adequately mitigate the threat of dangerousness Tarrio poses.”
Kelly said that Tarrio “has the skill set, resources, and networks to plan similar challenges to the lawful functioning of the United States government in the future.”
A judge in Florida previously denied a request by Tarrio for pretrial release, which is common in the U.S. legal system because of the presumption of innocence given to people accused of crimes. Tarrio asked Kelly to review the Florida judge’s order.
Tarrio is among the most high-profile of more than 775 people criminally charged for their roles in the assault on the Capitol by supporters of then-President Donald Trump in an effort to keep Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s election victory.
Police arrested Tarrio on Jan. 4, 2021, for burning a Black Lives Matter banner at a historic African-American church in December 2020, a charge for which he later served four months in jail.
Prosecutors said Tarrio maintained an active leadership role behind the scenes on Jan. 6, forcefully telling his followers on social media not to leave the Capitol, and later, in the encrypted chat, telling them: “We did this.”
Tarrio’s attorney Nayib Hassan told reporters in March Tarrio left Washington, D.C. on Jan. 5, 2021 – a day before the attack on the Capitol.
“It’s our estimation as far as what we have reviewed right now that the evidence is weak,” Hassan said.
Thousands of people stormed the Capitol that day to try to keep Congress from certifying current President Joe Biden’s victory over then-President Donald Trump, a Republican. More than 800 face criminal charges.
(Reporting by Jan Wolfe, Editing by Louise Heavens)