In the Courts

Jan. 6 Defense Ditches Witness After Judge Forbids Bringing Up Her Work As An FBI Informant

A Jan. 6 defendant’s team ultimately chose not to call a previously intended witness at trial Monday after the judge decided her history as an FBI informant could not be raised, according to multiple reports.

As former Proud Boys National Chairman Enrique Tarrio and members Ethan Nordean, Zachary Rehl, Joseph Biggs and Dominic Pezzola continued their federal trial for allegedly conspiring to oppose the January 2021 transfer of presidential power, the government revealed Wednesday that a woman Tarrio’s lawyers wanted to call as a witness had been an official FBI confidential human source from April 2021 to January 2023. The woman, identified by The New York Times as Jen Loh, had reportedly given the FBI information beginning in fall 2019, but presiding Judge Timothy Kelly indicated Monday that her relationship with the bureau was irrelevant to the case, Lawfare’s Robert Parloff reported.

Tarrio’s attorney Sabino Jauregui subsequently said he would agree to free Loh from subpoena without calling her to testify Monday, according to Parloff. Loh told the FBI around Jan. 9 that she had been subpoenaed in the case and participated in a deposition, the DOJ admitted Thursday, and FBI San Antonio Special Agent Kristina Spindel said her source relationship with the bureau ended around Jan. 18.

During her time as an FBI source, Loh had communicated with one or more defense lawyers, participated in prayer meetings with one or more defendants’ families and talked with one of the defendant’s family members about replacing one of the defense counsel, Rehl’s lawyer Carmen Hernandez said in a Wednesday motion. The motion called for the release of any FBI or DOJ reports, recordings and memoranda about “reporting on and recordings of the defense team,” but the DOJ replied that no such records existed.

“She wasn’t tasked with reporting on Proud Boys,” Judge Kelly said Monday, Politico’s Kyle Cheney reported. “Her involvement in the defense camp is easily explained by her sympathy for the defendants.”

Nordean’s attorney Nicholas Smith claimed Thursday that Loh had begun asking him detailed questions about matters like evidence in the case in around April 2021, according to a hearing transcript provided by American Greatness senior writer Julie Kelly. Smith added, “It looks like this informant was active in discussing information with their [FBI] handler at approximately the same time.”

Spindel denied that the FBI tasked Loh with collecting information about the defendants in the case, saying the bureau was never given any information about contact she had with them or their lawyers on the matter. Loh insisted Friday that she had not spied on the defendants or their lawyers, and the government said she has helped Jan. 6 defendants through “fund-raising efforts and protesting against their conditions of confinement,” according to the NYT.

Biggs’ lawyer Norman Pattis said Thursday that the defense planned to argue “that there was a complex network of confidential human sources at the government’s disposal.”

Court filings reported in November suggested the FBI had up to eight informants within the Proud Boys in the months surrounding Jan. 6, according to the NYT. Former Tennessee Proud Boys chapter leader Matthew Walter told the outlet in February that he and up to 20 other group members had FBI relationships around that time.

Tarrio’s attorneys did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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Trevor Schakohl

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Trevor Schakohl

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