Jury convicts Auburn man in plot to attack U.S. Capitol

Ethan Nordean was part of Proud Boys group that wanted to keep Trump in power

A Washington, D.C., jury convicted an Auburn man and three other Proud Boys members of a plot to attack the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Ethan Nordean, of Auburn, who was the leader of the Seattle chapter of the Proud Boys, was found guilty Thursday, May 4 of seditious conspiracy, according to numerous media reports. The jury also convicted Enrique Tarrio, of Miami; Joseph Biggs, of Ormond Beach, Florida; and Zachary Rehl, of Philadelphia of the same charge, which carries a prison sentence of up t0 20 years.

Jurors were convinced that the far-right extremist group attacked the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to keep Donald Trump as president even though he lost the 2020 presidential election to Joe Biden.

According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, prosecutors told jurors the Proud Boys viewed itself as “Trump’s army” and was prepared for “all-out war” to stop Biden from becoming president.

The Proud Boys were “lined up behind Donald Trump and willing to commit violence on his behalf,” prosecutor Conor Mulroe said in his closing argument.

The backbone of the government’s case was hundreds of messages exchanged by Proud Boys in the days leading up to Jan. 6, 2021 that show the far-right extremist group peddling Trump’s false claims of a stolen election and trading fears over what would happen when Biden took office, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Defense lawyers denied there was any plot to attack the Capitol or stop Congress’ certification of Biden’s win, according to the Los Angeles Times. A lawyer for Tarrio sought to push the blame onto Trump, arguing the former president incited the pro-Trump mob’s attack when he urged the crowd near the White House to “fight like hell.”

Federal prosecutors charged Nordean Feb. 3, 2021 with obstructing or impeding an official proceeding, aiding and abetting and knowingly entering or remaining in restricted building or grounds and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, according to a Feb. 3, 2021 U.S. Department of Justice news release.

According to charging papers, Nordean was observed marching at the front of the Proud Boys shortly before the riot began. He also was among those who entered the U.S. Capitol building after rioters, including certain persons associated with the Proud Boys, forced entry into the Capitol by means of destruction of federal property. Nordean was near the front of the crowd of rioters, who collectively approached, confronted and vastly outnumbered Capitol Police.

Nordean is the son of Mike Nordean, owner of Wally’s Chowder House in Des Moines and Wally’s Drive-In in Buckley.