Former Proud Boys leader, Jeremy Bertino (43), pleaded guilty today to seditious conspiracy for his role in the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. "He and others sought to stop the transfer of power by disrupting a joint session of the U.S. Congress convened to ascertain and count the electoral votes related to the presidential election," says the U.S. Attorney's Office in the District of Columbia. "He also pleaded guilty to a charge of unlawful possession of a firearm," says the press release, "stemming from a court-authorized search of his residence in March 2022."
For reasons unexplained, no charges were filed against Bertino for having a poorly-dyed beard.
Bertino's plea agreement requires him to cooperate with the federal investigation into the attempted insurrection.
From the release:
In December 2020, Bertino accepted an invitation from Enrique Tarrio, then Proud Boys' national chairman, to join a new chapter that Tarrio had devised called the "Ministry of Self Defense" (MOSD). In the weeks leading to Jan.6, 2021, Bertino participated in encrypted chats and other communication with members of MOSD leadership. Bertino and other MOSD leaders agreed that the presidential election had been stolen, that the purpose of traveling to Washington on Jan. 6, 2021, was to stop the certification of the Electoral College Vote, and that the MOSD leaders were willing to do whatever it would take, including using force against police and others, to achieve that objective.
Bertino continued to participate in planning sessions as he recovered from his injures. At least as early as Jan. 4, 2021, he received encrypted chat messages indicating that members of MOSD leadership were discussing the possibility of storming the Capitol. On Jan. 6, Bertino monitored activities through mainstream and social media, as well as posting in the MOSD chats. He posted messages himself to MOSD leaders and members to encourage and assist in the operation, such as advising those on the grounds of the Capitol to "form a spear." Similarly, Bertino posted to his public social media account, "DO NOT GO HOME. WE ARE ON THE CUSP OF SAVING THE CONSTITUTION." On the evening of Jan. 6, 2021, Bertino messaged Tarrio and celebrated the achievement, saying, among other things, "You know we made this happen," and "1776 motherf****r."
The firearms charge stems from an FBI search of Bertino's residence on March 8, 2022. While executing a search warrant, agents located six firearms, including an AR-15 style firearm with a scope, and more than 3,000 rounds of ammunition. Bertino was barred from possessing firearms and/or ammunition due to a previous conviction.
Bertino was charged in a criminal information that was filed today. Five other members of the Proud Boys, including Tarrio, were indicted on June 6, 2022, on seditious conspiracy and other charges. They have pleaded not guilty and are awaiting trial. A sixth member of the group, Charles Donohoe, 34, of Kernersville, North Carolina, pleaded guilty on April 8, 2022, to conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding and assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers.
Bertino faces a statutory maximum of 20 years in prison for seditious conspiracy and up to 10 years in prison for the firearms charge. The charges also carry potential financial penalties. No sentencing date was set. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.