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Proud Boys member pleads guilty to seditious conspiracy for role in Jan. 6

(WASHINGTON) — A member of the Proud Boys has pleaded guilty to two charges, including seditious conspiracy and unlawful possession of a firearm, for his involvement on the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

This makes Jeremy Bertino, a former lieutenant member of the inner circle of the Proud Boys, the first member of the Proud Boys, an extremist far-right group, to plead guilty to seditious conspiracy.

Bertino has also agreed to work with federal prosecutors. He will cooperate and potentially provide testimony against five other members of the Proud Boys, including founder Enrique Tarrio, who have already been charged with seditious conspiracy and are set to go to trial in December.

During a Jan. 6 House Committee hearing, congressmembers showed a video of Bertino saying that former President Donald Trump’s remarks that the Proud Boys should “stand back and stand by” tripled membership of the extremist group in 2020.

Like Tarrio, Bertino is not alleged to have participated in the actual attack on the Capitol and was not in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6. But in his plea, he admitted to helping the group plan its operations leading up to Jan. 6 and sending messages of encouragement to the group’s members as they were storming the Capitol, including urging them not to leave the building.

Bertino, a formerly convicted felon, faces a possible maximum sentence of 20 years of incarceration and a maximum fine of $250,000, alongside an obligation to pay a penalty of any fine or restitution not done in a timely manner, for his seditious conspiracy charge.

For the charge of unlawful possession of a firearm, Bertino faces a maximum sentence of 10 years of incarceration.

The court estimates that he will be sentenced to between 51 to 63 months in prison and a fine between $20,000 to $200,000, to be decided by Judge Timothy Kelly. As a result of his cooperation, the government has considered reducing his sentence.

Bertino will be sentenced on Feb. 2, 2023.

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