New reporting indicates that the FBI had at least two federal informants on the ground at the U.S. Capitol building on January 6, and one of them was in regular communication with his FBI handler on that day. This surfaces as many Proud Boys members and their prominent leaders remain jailed with tentative trial dates set for next year, often with charges of conspiracy.
Today the New York Times reported that one member of the Proud Boys “texted his FBI handler during the assault, but maintained the group had no plan in advance to enter the Capitol and disrupt the election certification.” The newspaper adds that, as a crowd of Proud Boys walked toward the Capitol, “one member” of the group “was busy texting a real-time account of the march. The recipient was his FBI handler.”
The New York Times admits that this indicates “federal law enforcement had a far greater visibility into” the events of January 6 even as they were “taking place, than was previously known.”
They also note that “The FBI also had an additional informant with ties to another Proud Boys chapter” who was at the Capitol on January 6. The newspaper adds that this raises “questions about the quality of the bureau’s informants and what sorts of questions they were being asked by their handlers before January 6.”
However, the Proud Boys have always maintained that there was no conspiracy or plot to enter the U.S. Capitol in large numbers. It seems this new revelation from the FBI provides strong evidence suggesting there was no plot from the Proud Boys’ leadership to lead a so-called insurrection, or otherwise engage in lawless activity. Nevertheless, the federal government is pursuing conspiracy charges against much of the Proud Boys leadership, who remain jailed.
Perhaps the most visible member of Proud Boys leadership who remains incarcerated in advance of his trial is Joe Biggs, who wrote a devastating letter from jail describing the conditions at the facility where he is housed. Among other charges, Biggs is accused of leading a conspiracy to lead Proud Boys into the federal building with the goal of interrupting the U.S. House.
Biggs is far from the only man being accused of leading such a conspiracy. National File spoke to the lawyer representing Zachary Rehl, the chapter president of the Philadelphia Proud Boys, who is facing similar detainment to Biggs and maintains that there was no advanced plan to enter the building.
“This shows there was no pre-planning,” said lawyer Jon Moseley, who is now representing Zachary Rehl. “If they had these informants, they would have known about some plan before the grand jury even met.” Moseley says this new revelation pokes holes in the prosecution’s argument, which from the start has been that Rehl and other Proud Boys had an advanced plan to enter the U.S. Capitol building on January 6.
“They set a trial date for Zach for May 18,” added Moseley, noting that Rehl will have been incarcerated for over one year by the time his trial starts. According to Moseley, the prosecution should not need this long period of time to gather evidence “If they had somebody in real time telling them there was a plan” to enter the Capitol.
Those close to Rehl have suggested to National File that the government’s case against the Philadelphia Proud Boys leader is weak, and the their belief is that the prosecutor intends to keep Rehl incarcerated and unable to provide for his family – he missed the birth of his daughter while incarcerated – until Rehl is unable to afford his legal bills. Rehl’s legal defense fund, DefendZach.com, has already raised over $5,000 to support his legal fight.