Law enforcement agencies had at least 40 undercover informants engaging in surveillance work among defendants on Jan. 6, defendant Dominic Pezzola’s lawyer Roger Roots said Wednesday.
A Proud Boys member, Pezzola is currently standing federal trial in Washington, D.C. with the group’s former national chairman Enrique Tarrio and members Ethan Nordean, Joseph Biggs, Zachary Rehl for allegedly conspiring to oppose the Jan. 2021 transfer of presidential power and related charges. The government admitted Tuesday that eight FBI confidential human sources were embedded among the Proud Boys on Jan. 6, Roots reported in a Wednesday court filing, saying the Homeland Security Investigations (HIS) agency appears to have had some 19 informants active at the time.
At least 13 undercover plain-clothes DC Metro Police (MPD) agents worked among Jan. 6 defendants that day, Roots said. He reported that federal prosecutors revealed information involving twelve of the officers on Friday.
“Some of these undercover Metro officers marched with the Proud Boy march,” Roots said. “And some appear to have played roles of instigators, in that they are seen on body-worn videos chanting ‘Go! Go!,’ ‘Stop the Steal!,’ and ‘Whose house? Our house!’ on Jan. 6. Others generally followed demonstrators toward the Capitol.”
Roots asked the court to make the government “reveal all informants, undercover operatives and other confidential human sources relating to the events of January 6,” arguing that the HIS informants and their likely conduct could “almost certainly” help exonerate Pezzola. He said the defense would have been “much more aggressive” in the trial originally if they knew “the scope and scale” of Jan. 6 undercover government operations.
Roots had motioned Friday for permission to issue a subpoena for Jan. 6 rioter Ray Epps, who has been accused of being an FBI informant, though Epps and others have vehemently denied this. The attorney argued Epps “is being suspiciously protected from prosecution by the government,” and the Friday motion referenced Jan. 6 defendant William Pope‘s claims that undercover MPD officers were instigating the Jan. 6 crowd from within to storm the Capitol.
The government revealed to the defense on March 22 that a woman that Tarrio’s defense intended to call as a witness had been an FBI confidential human source from April 2021 to January 2023. Judge Timothy Kelly Kelly ruled March 27 that defense lawyers could not raise the woman’s FBI relationship in the trial, and Tarrio’s attorney Sabino Jauregui subsequently said he would not call her to testify, according to Lawfare’s Robert Parloff.
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