The Proud Boys seditious conspiracy defendant lashed out at prosecutors from the witness stand on Thursday, accusing them of conducting what he described as a “corrupt trial” marred by “false accusations.” attacked an officer.
The outburst by defendant Dominique Pezola occurred during a testimony meant to humanize him for the jury, but instead appeared to expose his combative nature. Pezzola, who was one of the first rioters to enter the Capitol on January 6, 2021, tried to downplay the day’s violence during a tense exchange with prosecutors. The entry into the building was not an “invading army” but simply a “protester’s trespass.”
The outraged testimony emerged as the trial, now four months in federal district court in Washington, was finally coming to an end. Each of the defendants rested at the end of the day on Thursday. Closing arguments could start as early as Friday.
Pezzola, a former Marine and veteran boxer, first took the stand on Tuesday and told jurors “to take responsibility for my actions on January 6,” always at a risky bet. I said yes.
He immediately fell to the sword, committing all the acts of violence he participated in that day himself, and co-defendants Enrique Tario, Ethan Nordine, Joseph Biggs, and Zachary Lehr “should not be roped”. claimed. ” His “behavior”.
Of the five men on trial, Mr. Pezolla definitely the most violent On January 6, he brawled with a police officer in the crowd outside the Capitol and eventually escaped with his plastic riot shield. , rushed inside with the first wave of mobs and took a video of himself smoking what was described as a “victory” cigar.
He tried to explain all of this to the jury by claiming that his military training as an infantryman simply began at a moment of high stress.
“In situations like this, the adrenaline is completely saturated and it goes into your body like it’s on autopilot.”
Well before the trial began, the defense accused the government that the five Proud Boys had committed sedition by forcibly obstructing the authentication of the 2020 election, which took place inside the Capitol on January 6. It promised a strong lawsuit to refute the allegations.
At first it appeared that all the defendants had the potential to testify, but after several other defense witnesses (including the Proud Boys, who were not charged in the case) struggled with cross-examination, the defense attorneys scaled back their ambitionsand only Mr. Pezola and Mr. Lair decided to stand up.
Mr. Leal, who testified over two days last week and this week, told jurors that he was the leader of the Proud Boys and had previously run the group’s Philadelphia chapter, robbed the Capitol. , interfere with the authentication of elections.
His attorney, Carmen Hernandez, also tried to portray him as the least aggressive of the five defendants, repeatedly testifying that he never broke anything or hurt anyone during the riot. The ploy seemed to work, at least until Mr. Laer reacted violently to a newly discovered video the government played for the jury.
Mr. Pezola’s testimony followed a similar trajectory.
When he first stood up, he agreed with Mr. Lahl’s assertion that the Proud Boys could not have been guilty of conspiracy because they had no plans for January 6th.
“Our only plan,” he said, joking about the group’s notorious alcohol tastes, was “perhaps to raid a liquor store.
But Pezora seemed to lose his cool after being questioned by Eric Kennerson, one of the prosecutors in the case. The clashes between the two were followed by a series of comments Kennerson made to Pezzola in the weeks leading up to Jan. It started when I answered the question of “
“Did you think the other side was trying to destroy your way of life?” asked Mr. Kennerson.
it’s not a thought. That was true,” Pezora replied. “They were attacking us every day.”
Then Mr. Kennerson pushed a little further.
“You wanted to be on the front lines to protect the people you love and the things you stand for?” he asked.
Mr. Pezzola retorted angrily.
“That’s right,” he said.
A few minutes earlier, when Mr. Kennerson read to the jury a passage from Mr. Pezola’s diary, the two men were saying the same thing to each other. In the quoted part, Pezzola complained about government restrictions put in place because of the coronavirus pandemic, feeling his family and country were under attack from “radical socialists”. rice field.
“I’m just starting to find success with my business,” writes Pezzola, who owns a floor tile company. “But now it is threatened by an unconstitutional blockade and an autocratic government.”
Mr. Pezola called the ongoing trial a “sham trial,” against the text read aloud.
“There’s a lot of opinions, right?” Mr. Kennerson shot back.
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