Trump’s statements must be excluded from Proud Boys conspiracy trial
Ethan Nordean – a Proud Boys leader on trial on charges related to Jan. 6 – has asked a judge to withdraw two statements made by former President Donald Trump at his upcoming hearing this week.
Nordean, who is accused of helping to organize the violent raid on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, is due in court this week alongside four other members of the white nationalist group, including the organization’s president. , Enrique Tarrio.
The five defendants, who claim their innocence, will make their opening statements on Tuesday, according to court records.
On Friday, however, Nordean’s attorneys filed a request to withdraw approximately 30 exhibits from the trial that were submitted by the US government. In the motion, Nordean’s legal team says the exhibits were added after the Department of Justice (DOJ) was ordered to submit its final list of exhibits on November 11.
Prosecutors did not alert Nordean and the other defendants that the exhibits had been added, court documents show.
“The parties are in a voir dire now,” read Friday’s motion. “They have to prepare their opening statements and for the trial. They don’t have time the weekend before the trial to go through dozens of additional exhibits on top of everything else.”
Additional exhibits include a 53-second clip of a debate between Trump and President Joe Biden in September 2020. WUSA, a CBS affiliate based in Washington, D.C., reported Monday that the clip includes the former president telling the Proud Boys to “take a step back”. and stand by” when asked if he was ready to condemn white supremacists and militias.
Trump’s statement quickly turned into a catchphrase for the far-right organization and also led to a surge in membership, according to a statement made by Proud Boys member Jeremy Bertino at a public hearing on Monday. House committee investigating Jan. 6. Bertino pleaded guilty to seditious conspiracy in October.
The DOJ also included a tweet posted by Trump on December 19, 2020. WUSA reported that the tweet in question included a statement made by the former president that there would be a “big protest in DC on January 6th” after he shared baseless evidence of voter fraud in the 2020 election.
“Be there, will be wild!” tweeted the president.
The Jan. 6 committee had also previously singled out the tweet during its investigation that led it to refer the former president to the DOJ in December. Congressman Jamie Raskin, who served on the committee, told a committee hearing in July that Trump’s tweet was meant to “mobilize a crowd.”
The DOJ argued in its response filed Monday to Nordean’s motion that the additional exhibits were added in “good faith” by prosecutors after a judge ruled in December which exhibits would be allowed in the case.
Prosecutors also said the added evidence is “a small number of additional exhibits to the robust body of exhibits that defense attorneys have had for nearly two months.”
“The government acted in good faith by providing a robust set of exhibits well in advance of trial and adding a limited number of additional exhibits during final trial preparation,” reads the DOJ’s response. “The government’s inclusion of a handful of additional exhibits…creates no prejudice to the defendants.”
Newsweek contacted Nordean’s attorneys for comment.