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Proud Boys leader pleads guilty to seditious conspiracy for Capitol riot

A former leader of the Proud Boys became the first member of the group to plead guilty to seditious conspiracy on Thursday. Photo by Jon Farina/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/b06358018f3531e24d17c53abb9f5465/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
A former leader of the Proud Boys became the first member of the group to plead guilty to seditious conspiracy on Thursday. Photo by Jon Farina/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 6 (UPI) -- A former Proud Boys leader on Thursday became the first member of the group to plead guilty to seditious conspiracy in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

Jeremy Bertino, 43, of Belmont, N.C., also pleaded guilty to one charge of unlawful possession of a firearm. As part of his plea agreement, Bertino has agreed to cooperate with the investigation.

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Bertino could become an important witness for the government, as five other Proud Boys leaders are set to face trial in December on seditious conspiracy and other charges.

According to the Washington Post, Bertino was at the top of the inner circle of the Proud Boys and was the lieutenant for the group's chairman, Enrique Tarrio.

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Bertino's home in North Carolina was searched in March, which is when the government also found two pistols a shotgun, bolt-action rifle and two semiautomatic AR-15 style rifles with scopes.

Tarrio and another co-defendant, Joe Biggs, have close ties to prominent right-wing figures Roger Stone and Alex Jones, who could be implicated by Bertino's cooperation.

The Post also reported that Stone also communicated via encrypted texts after the 2020 election with Tarrio as well as Stewart Rhodes, the founder and leader of a second right-wing extremist group, the Oath Keepers, accused of playing an outsized role in planning for and organizing violence at the Capitol.

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Rhodes was on trial Thursday for seditious conspiracy in the same courthouse in which Bertino made his plea.

Rhodes, Tarrio and Biggs have pleaded not guilty to seditious conspiracy.

Before Thursday, the four people who pleaded guilty to seditious conspiracy all were affiliated with the Oath Keepers.

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