Jun 7, 2022 - News

Seattle-area Proud Boys leader charged with sedition

Ethan Nordean, aka Rufio Panman,  seen here outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, was featured in by a video documentary shot by a fellow Proud Boys member.
Ethan Nordean, aka Rufio Panman, is circled in this screengrab from a video documentary shot outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Photo credit: Court filings in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia

A man who led Seattle's chapter of the right-wing extremist Proud Boys group has been indicted on new charges of seditious conspiracy and other offenses for his role in the deadly Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

The latest: Ethan Nordean, who lives near Auburn, faces the charges, along with Proud Boys' national leader Henry "Enrique" Tarrio and three other prominent members of the group, according to a federal grand jury's indictment unsealed on Monday.

Driving the news: These are some of the most serious charges so far stemming from the attack, Axios' Oriana Gonzalez reports.

Details: The indictment says that Nordean was among a small group of Proud Boys, hand-selected by Tarrio, whose main purpose was "national rally planning."

  • The charges allege that between December 2020 and January 2021, group members "[e]ngaged in meetings and encrypted communications" to plan an insurrection preventing Congress from certifying Joe Biden's presidential victory over former President Trump.
  • Nordean and the others also allegedly encouraged Proud Boys from across the country to travel to Washington, D.C., to participate in the attack.
  • Nordean created an online crowdfunding campaign to solicit donations for protective gear and communications equipment used by Proud Boys who participated in the riot, the indictment says.

What's also happening: Nordean and the others were also indicted for conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding and conspiracy to prevent an officer from discharging any duties.

What's next: The five co-defendants are scheduled for a hearing on Thursday, the same day the House Select Committee investigating the attack will hold its first public hearing about what it has found so far.

  • Catch up quick: The five men had pleaded not guilty on charges in earlier indictments. Since the Jan. 6 riot, more than 800 people have been arrested in nearly all 50 states – including at least a dozen in Washington state -- for their alleged involvement, per the DOJ.

Context: Nordean, 31, also known as "Rufio Panman," won widespread attention in right-wing circles after a video went viral that captured him knocking out a counter-protester at a 2018 Proud Boys rally in Portland.

  • Nordean used his notoriety as a platform to recruit new members to the group, which describe themselves as “Western chauvinists.”

Go deeper: By the numbers: Jan. 6 one year later

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