A New Meaning for Sedition and the Death of Free Speech: Conversations with Three Defense Attorneys about Media Misrepresentation and Potential Consequences of the Proud Boys Trial

Guest Post By Shawn Bradley Witzemann, Condemned USA

Camper Trailer, Missouri — It’s been a full week since the Proud Boys trial concluded with another long list of convictions secured by the same Department of Justice that can’t seem to pin anything on the Biden Crime Family. In the aftermath of the proceedings, it appears the regime’s quest to rid the United States of all MAGA extremists seems to be hitting its stride. The proceedings laid bare the true face of a weaponized justice system — a now well-oiled machine where the ends justify the means — hell-bent on doing whatever it takes to put Donald Trump behind bars.

Although there were small wins in the case of Dominic Pezzola (not guilty on the charge of Seditious Conspiracy and a hung jury on the charge of Conspiracy to Obstruct an Official Proceeding), any minimal taste of victory that might have been enjoyed was left bittersweet by the egregious convictions of four others who’d been ensnared by a politically motivated show trial.

Enrique Tarrio, Ethan Nordean, Joe Biggs, and Zachary Rehl were each found guilty on counts one through six (Seditious Conspiracy, Conspiracy to Obstruct and Official Proceeding, Obstruction of an Official Proceeding, Conspiracy to Prevent Officials from Discharging Duties, Impeding Officers During Civil Disorder, Destruction of Property Fence), there were hung juries on counts seven through eight (Destruction of Property Window, Assaulting Officers by Throwing Water Bottles), and the four were found not guilty on count nine (Assaulting Officers by Taking Riot Shield); a charge which was laid squarely at the feet of Pezzola.

To better understand the variety of issues at play, I spoke with three of the defense attorneys who endured a full five months of legal warfare. I wanted to know what their experiences were. I wanted to know how it had affected their thinking about justice in America. I wanted to know what the jury’s findings might mean for our future and whether there were any lessons that might be gleaned from our past.

Independent Press or the Lack Thereof
A Screenshot of NBC News’ April 25th headline.

One might assume that with the future of the Republic at stake, the so-called “Fourth Branch of Government” would be in an uproar over the implications of these convictions. Unfortunately, in continuation of the wave of propaganda that led to the trumped-up charges against five American men, the corporate press remains eager to keep selling the big lie to a disturbingly susceptible public.

“The coverage was always so different than the actual proceedings,” Pezzola Defense Attorney Roger Roots explained, “The headline was ‘Proud Boys Blame Trump for Everything They Did’ or something. I had been there the day that they were reporting and literally, that was based on one line from what I can recall from the Tarrio team…Our team for Pezzola never said that, yet that’s how they reported the story. It goes to show you what they want the story to be.”

While focusing all blame for criminality on Trump and reinforcing the pre-written narrative, corporate media only solidified their disservice to the public. Attorney Steve Metcalf, Roots’ partner in Pezzola’s defense, seemed jaded during our conversation — largely uninterested in discussing the role of the media.

“I’d see these people every day,” Metcalf stated, “They were in a media room, and every once in a while, out of the blue, they would come and talk to me.”

With all of his attention focused on the hours of work to be done out of court each evening, Metcalf said he didn’t see much of what was being written about the trial. He kept engagement to a minimum.

“Part of my job is to know who these people are,” explained Metcalf, “And if I wanted to talk to them about something, I would talk to them. It reached a point where they, every single one of them, would approach me every day when they saw me.”

Likely influenced by his many years of defending Alex Jones, Norm Pattis initially echoed Metcalf’s apparent disinterest.

“Candidly, I didn’t look at much of it,” Pattis explained, “I learned a long time ago that reading press coverage of your trial is a waste of time. It always irritates you because the press focuses on the most dramatic moments of the day. After all, that’s the best story, but it leaves out the nuance in the context.”

In the era of short-form journalism and sensational headline news, nuance is an incredibly difficult thing to capture — or sell. Acutely aware of the infowars being plaid out each day on Twitter while he was busy defending his client, Joe Biggs, Pattis was nonetheless disturbed by the nature of a business consumed by propaganda. In defiance of the most noble aspirations of the craft, a large majority of journalists parrot talking points for a paycheck —perfectly content with sucking up to power.

“Prior to trial and in general, my sense is that people have portrayed Proud Boys and the January 6th people as something other than what they are,” Pattis explained, “The Proud Boys are not a group of white supremacists. They’re not a hate group. People who went to protest on January 6th aren’t violent extremists engaged in insurrection. There was a riot, and people were concerned. Whether rightly or wrongly, they thought the election had been stolen. And they came to Washington because they cared about the Republic. And for this, they’ve been demonized. And to me, it’s deeply, deeply, deeply distressing. And to the degree the press is bought into that narrative, shame on the press. These are the sort of people who’d be rooting for the British in 1776 saying, ‘Hey, you know, what’s a little tax on Tea?’.”

In an environment where coverage options remain minimal, the public was left to follow along with their choice of more left-leaning, state-cozy media. Independent media coverage was derived from the daily live tweeting of only two journalists: Brandi Buchman and Roger Parloff. Their work would form the basis of everyone’s understanding — fueling contempt-soaked snippets from the left, and outrage headlines from the right — all part of an extremely awkward dance in a disappointingly niche market.

Although I personally felt that Parloff delivered the best coverage, some of my colleagues were shocked at my assessment, and Roots was much less than impressed.

“The only reason Parloff is followed at all is because he reports every 15 minutes or every five minutes in some cases. But he’s terrible — totally biased, and he misses a lot of important things,” Roots explained, “He was not there the day that the most important testimony happened, and I was cross-examining a guy named McCumber —the US House of Representatives Deputy Clerk. I got him to say on the stand that Congress could have kept proceeding. Now that, to me, should have been the headline in the New York Times. That goes directly to an element that the government requires to prove in the 1512 (Obstruction) count, which, to me, was an admission of one element not being met. And it didn’t even make the newspaper.”

Unfortunately, Roots’ criticisms provide no excuses for a largely disinterested “conservative” media — a disgrace to the notion that they hold the high ground in the battle to retain our liberties. It’s easy to point out the flaws of the left-leaning journalists who provided coverage of the trial, but the fact remains that Conservative INC showed little to no interest in the proceedings. Apparently, a 4 1/2-month trial in which the government criminalizes free speech doesn’t sell as much knock-off Viagra as fat men twerking in front of children during drag queen story-time.

Excuses abound for the absence of appropriate interest. Norm Pattis believes fear is involved.

“I don’t know if it’s because the Oathkeepers trial took all the steam out of it for subsequent trials, but I also think people are afraid,” Pattis attempted to reason, “I think that suddenly the Justice Department has weaponized itself against dissent. And if you cheer for the wrong team, will you invite an audit from one of those 80,000 new armed IRS agents? I sense a lot of fear out there, a lot of reluctance, I think, to the degree that these prosecutions had the either intended or unintended effect of chilling free speech.”

Democracy: Dying in Darkness

In the age of instant gratification, with endless choices of entertainment, some might be surprised to learn that there’s no public access to the most important trials of our lifetime. Although Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) reintroduced bipartisan legislation to allow television cameras into federal courtrooms, transparency in J6 cases has been severely lacking. While information continues to be withheld from each jury, conspiracy theories of all manner are festering through the media, and the need for public hearings is greater than ever.

“I agree with the Right to a public trial,” Metcalf said when asked if he would support the legislation, “There were a lot of sealed sessions in this case that people should have known about. If there ever was a case that should have been filmed, I feel like this case (was the one).”

Roger Roots was even less hesitant with his response to the idea.

“We need more cameras. The more cameras in the courtroom, the better,” he stated frankly, “The fact that federal courts are this dark area where the public can’t see what’s going on allows for the government to have so much overreach and tyranny in the courtroom. They couldn’t get away with what they do. If there were cameras in the courtroom,”

In what became a common theme in his contributions to our discussion, Norm Pattis took a more measured approach.

“You know, maybe until a year ago, I was not a fan of cameras in the court. I thought they might be distracting,” Pattis explained as he elaborated on his newfound position, “I think that it would be helpful to have cameras in the court so that if people wanted to get a complete view, they could.”

He was less than enthusiastic about any potential for meaningful impact, however, — seemingly conscious of a very fickle, consumer-driven society with an attention span molded by 15-second videos on TikTok.

“I’m not sure how many people will take the time to do so,” he said, “For example, the Proud Boys case was four and a half months long. Most people have lives to live, you know, so how are they going to choose what to watch? And sometimes the legal proceedings can be dry as dust, but I think the public should have a right to see it, and they should be televised so that people can choose for themselves.”

It’s hard to argue with Pattis’ logic. Considering the way people have paid attention so-far, it does seem dubious to place unfounded faith in a disenchanted public. Roots, on the other hand, thinks the trial would’ve been must-see TV.

“Look at the state courts,” he explained, “Most state court proceedings are videoed. Some of the most important trials in history at the state level are televised live. The O.J. Simpson trial was televised live. And you think about the Kyle Rittenhouse trial and Johnny Depp’s lawsuit televised live, and the American people really like to follow this stuff.”

Roots went on to describe a situation at trial where so many of the facts remained secret and under seal — echoing Metcalf’s reasoning and explaining that people aren’t getting any sense of reality.

“(The Press) can’t even take pictures. The American people don’t even know what these people in the courtroom look like,” he complained while describing the 18th-century reporting, “It’s still being done with sketch artists…are you kidding me? Everyone should be able to see these people and what they say and the way they talk and everything.”

It remains to be seen if televised federal courtrooms will be allowed — or whether they will have any impact on public perception — but with Chief Judge James Boasberg’s recent decision to end telephonic access to criminal proceedings in D.C. Courtrooms have only gotten darker.

A Proud Boy Falls on His Shield
Dominic Pezzola on January 6, 2021

In the days following the announcement of the verdicts, Vice News ran public relations for the D.C. Judiciary with the assistance of Juror Andre Mundel. who said that it was missing text messages which sealed the case for conspiracy. It’s only fitting for a case that was made through suppression of evidence would come to be decided by a jury based on what they couldn’t see.

“I think that was unfortunate,” Pattis remarked, “To the degree that they drew inferences of guilt from the absence of evidence in the absence of any other evidence, that’s an impermissible inference in my view. And it’s tragic.”

As the prosecution’s presentation of their keystone evidence, a document known as the “1776 Returns”, was exposed as an absolute fraud. The jury leaned into their prejudice and miraculously extracted guilty verdicts from the void.

“They played detective, looking to complete a narrative they’d already decided upon,” Pattis explained, “There was no conspiracy to engage in sedition. There was no plan. There was no understanding. This jury went out of their way to find one, which I think reflects their bias.”

The Vice story went on to report that Pezzola was spared a conviction of seditious conspiracy because the jury viewed him as being somehow unintelligent — he “may not have been bright enough to really know about the plan”.

Roots described the pompous characterization as ridiculous. He redirected the conversation to the facts.

“Honestly, I think several factors worked for Pezzola,” he explained, “He took the stand, and I think the jury rewarded him for his courage. And he was frank, and I think he came off as relatively honest.”

Although many believe Pezzola fell on his proverbial sword (or shield, in this case), desiring to secure acquittals for his fellow defendants on the conspiracy charges, the verdicts suggested a complete rejection of reality by the D.C. jury. Pezzola was honest, the jury was not.

“I think they’re all not guilty,” Roots stated while positing that the rest of the defendants may have been better served by taking the stand in their defense, “Pezzola admitted he broke one pane of glass. He didn’t say he was perfect, and that’s another thing I think the jury understood. All these guys should have taken the stand and said, ‘Hey, I made some mistakes, but I didn’t commit these crimes I’m accused of.’”

It remains anyone’s guess as to whether more honesty would’ve had an impact on the jury, but it was never a strategy to make Pezzola “take the fall”. Pattis pushed back at the idea altogether.

“What you had were five or actually eight lawyers, all with very independent minds,” he explained, “At times, the defense was not coordinated at all. I think that Steve Metcalf did a fantastic job on behalf of Pezzola.”

Metcalf described an intense battle for truth as the reason why he and Roots were able to secure acquittals on the charges of conspiracy for Pezzola:

“I killed myself to get Dom out of conspiracy, and Roger was right there with me all along.”

But he described his disappointment in the verdicts on two other charges. First and foremost, in his mind, was the felony charge for breaking a window.

“All I wanted was the misdemeanor because there’s no way that that window was over a thousand dollars,” he explained, “As petty as it is, it comes down to money. It was a thousand dollars. It was two panes of glass, and their own experts said that their calculation was off. They didn’t even have a specific number for that window. So, $774.00 was the number that they came up with. That was garbage. I thought they would’ve seen through that. Then number two, Dom (Pezzola) broke one of the panes, not two. Another guy broke the other pane, and he did it before Dom got there, and they don’t even know who that guy was. They should have given him a misdemeanor for that.”

The other point of contention was the robbery of a Capitol Police riot shield, which Pezzola had received without violence as the crowd was attacked by police. Even with expert testimony from Stephen Hill, describing the improper and excessive use of these weapons, Pezzola’s defense was unable to secure an acquittal. As with any reading of the law, specific details matter — unless a D.C. jury is deciding a January 6th case.

“Roger and I fought for permanently deprived language under the robbery statute,” he explained, “We had a video of him returning the damn shield to the US Capitol police. What the hell was he gonna do with this thing? Bring it home? Like, hang it up on his wall? So, we had permanently deprived language in the robbery statute. We had theft, lesser included. That would’ve been a misdemeanor right there. And I had self-defense. They had three outs on the robbery. Three outs, and they didn’t take any of them.”

Coming to Terms With Bias in D.C.
Judge Kelly being sworn in at his 2017 confirmation hearing.

Anyone who followed the trial knows how hard the defense attorneys fought for justice. Although Roots and many others have complaints about the reporting from Roger Parloff, a simple reality was shown in his work: many of the jurors held deeply biased opinions going into the trial. In fact, as has been shown through the work of Condemned USA, the district is almost entirely rigged against January 6th defendants.

“I can’t even believe the jury pool. It’s so bad,” Roots said while describing the somewhat hopeless odds faced by J6 defendants, “These are people who are Democrat activists. They hate Trump. They hate anything Trump ever stood for when Trump came to Washington with his administration. Every single member of these juries is a federal employee, or they live in households with federal employees…It’s not supposed to be political, but it is.”

Unfortunately, the bias in D.C. doesn’t end with the jurors. Not only did Judge Timothy Kelly deny a very reasonable motion for a change of venue, but he also seemingly did everything in his power to prevent an already biased jury from being made aware of the many abuses that plagued the Proud Boys’ trial. Had they been presented with a more complete picture, perhaps a miracle might have occurred. With Judge Kelly presiding, however, the jury never had a chance. It was he who kept the deck stacked against justice.

“The judge pretty much let the government put on almost any evidence it wanted to and then stopped us from putting on evidence that would’ve directly rebutted it,” Roots explained, “I’ll give you an example—the window: Pezzola was convicted of breaking a window over a thousand dollars value. We had an expert witness ready to go. This is a guy that puts in windows. He installs windows. He is an expert on window valuation, and he would’ve testified that it was under a thousand dollars in damage. The judge would not let him take the stand.”

Pattis pointed out that Judge Kelly is a former employee of the Department of Justice, a fact that lends even more insight to the egregiously prejudicial rulings of the court. One might think that a former public integrity prosecutor would be inclined to ensure integrity through a balanced approach to his decisions. Still, the reality flew in the face of all reason.

“Judge Kelly’s rulings broke in favor of the government almost always,” Pattis explained, “It was depressing. It was distressing. It got to be a sort of side joke among the defendants.”

All agreed that the “tools theory” was an absolute disaster — an insult to every reasonable understanding of what constitutes a conspiracy.

“The tools theory allowed for a completely different set of circumstances and various pieces of evidence to come in the court,” Metcalf lamented, “They had the lowest bar as to how to establish or make these guys look like they were responsible for virtually everything. They changed conspiracy jurisprudence by allowing this theory to take place in this trial, and that will be a huge, huge appellate issue.”

Pattis reiterated the insanity of D.C. as Judge Kelly allowed for the spontaneous change of meaning for “conspiracy” — a word that can easily be found in Daniel Webster’s dictionary.

“The notion that somehow these men could be held responsible for the acts of others who they allegedly used as tools, we argued strenuously against that,” Pattis recounted, “We thought the judge gave an over-broad definition of conspiracy, making it possible for the jury to conclude that there could be an instantaneously formed conspiracy at the barricade.”

In a trial consistently marked by both judicial and juror bias, it was yet another frustrating turn of events for the entire team of attorneys. Time and again, efforts to paint a complete picture filled with exculpatory testimony and other withheld evidence were inexplicably slapped down by Judge Kelly.

“Just look at the evidence that was allowed in,” Metcalf resounded while asking for a reason, “If you go through day in, day out, objection after objection, the defense making valid scenarios and legal points. It got to a point where I sat down, and I was like, ‘What am I even doing this for?’”

Metcalf certainly wasn’t alone in the demoralization experiences.

“The cumulative effect made it feel very much as though we had another prosecutor,” Pattis explained, “This one wearing a robe.”

There was little improvement as the trial moved into jury instructions. Broad leeway was given and more language was redefined.

“The jury instructions overwhelmingly favored the prosecution,” explained Roots, “Look at the 1512 count, obstruction of an official proceeding. It requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt of corrupt intention. The government tries to interpret the word “corrupt” to mean “unlawful”, so the government’s position on jury instructions is just the mere fact that they committed any unlawful act to obstruct an official proceeding is enough to convict. And that’s a 20-year federal prison statute.”

In a trial that saw the release of the January 6th Select Committee Report released at the same time as jury selection, Steven Metcalf explained how everything seemed to be timed perfectly for the government.

“As we’re doing the jury instructions, the appellate division comes back with a three-way split,” Metcalf said while describing how the 1512 Obstruction charge was originally dismissed, “That threw a monkey wrench into everything and basically overturned the dismissal.”

According to Metcalf, the ruling led to more confusion and muddied waters, just as the jury prepared to move into deliberation. Defense Attorneys scrambled to apply a fresh, hundred-page opinion with a multitude of ways to be interpreted. The chaos was far too perfectly timed for Metcalf to suspend his disbelief any further.

“I don’t believe in coincidences,” he explained, “There was too much that happened during the course of this trial that was planned out. Way too perfect. It was disgusting.”

Novel Conspiracies, Theories, and Entrapment
Ray Epps at the Capitol on January 6, 2021

Through the Proud Boys’ conviction, conspiracy theories have found room to expand into areas where not even flat-earthers have dared to tread. No longer is an actual plan needed — not even a conversation. According to the government, a conspiracy can be created in real-time, furiously plotted through the unspoken hopes and dreams of whomever they’ve deemed guilty of engaging in wrong-think.

“It’s unbelievable,” Roger Roots lamented, “The jury was instructed in such a way that every marcher could have been convicted of the same conspiracy charge. Every person in D.C. on January 6th — every protestor — could equally be convicted of conspiracy.”

While the government has no problem with weakening the strength of evidence required to constitute a Proud Boy conspiracy, evidence suggests that the standard is being selectively applied. Two years after Ray Epps was identified, encouraging crowds to “go into the Capitol”, the government remains seemingly uninterested in those particular conspiracy theories. As a result, questions remain as to whether there’s any validity to claims that he was acting as some sort of agent provocateur.

“We never got to the bottom of Ray Epps,” Roots explained, “The government constantly says that the door is closed. The most they ever did was say that Ray Epps was not an FBI informant. Well, that’s not the end of the inquiry because there are so many other agencies, and the way they’ve answered the question is always very specific in their wording.”

Even though Epps was central to activity at the initial breach, whispering in Ryan Samsel’s ear, Judge Kelly wasn’t interested in enforcing a subpoena that would have forced Epps to testify.

“I had a subpoena out for Ray Epps with my signature on it,” Roots explained, “We had a process server trying to serve him. Treniss Evans and Condemned USA was helping to pay for that while Epps was dodging service in this case. And then he (Epps) went on ‘60 Minutes’ during the trial. So ‘60 Minutes’ was able to find him, but our process server wasn’t.”

Much of the information brought forward, exposing known FBI confidential human sources and undercover law enforcement, went largely untested due to Judge Kelly’s rulings. For whatever reason, the government emphatically refused to be forthcoming.

“They won’t answer the follow-up questions about other agencies,” said Roots.

With dodged subpoenas, unanswered questions, and dozens of unidentified individuals in the mix, many continue to allege the idea of a “Fedsurrection” and the potential for an entrapment defense.

Still, the ever-pragmatic Norm Pattis says the concept of federal orchestration doesn’t add up in his mind.

“I know that some of my colleagues on the defense thought it was orchestrated, but I don’t,” he explained while referring back to known facts and cautioning against wild speculation, “I think there were a lot of angry people milling about, and it was like a soccer riot. At one point, the crowd snapped, and others followed, and they acted out of their discontent and their rage.”

Metcalf believes the true story of federal involvement is that even with entire squadrons of informants, not a single one was able to report any plans of sedition being made by Proud Boys:

“If there was an agreement or if there was any conspiracy, these guys would’ve known it and would’ve reported it immediately. There was no reporting of any agreement or any conspiracy or anything having to do with January 6th,” he explained.

“They did everything they possibly could to fight,” Metcalf said while beginning to laugh, “They had a whole team as like a cleanup crew. They would give us very limited information. We found out people were CHSs in the middle of the trial. We found out that people were CHSs towards the end of the trial. It was a freaking joke. That was their protective zone. That was when they started to sweat. So I know that there’s more to the story than what we were even entitled to and what we even got as the defense attorneys on this. So that chapter is yet to be closed.”

The government’s response doesn’t inspire trust, efforts to find answers were turned into a clown-show, and the rumor mill will likely be running at full capacity for the foreseeable future. But despite what many January 6th Defendants or anyone else may believe about the extent of federal involvement that day, it remains doubtful that a successful case can be built around an entrapment defense.

“Entrapment is not there just yet,” Metcalf cautioned, “I was barely able to get self-defense as a jury instruction which means that the entrapment would never work out as a defense on these cases.”

“People just throw around the word entrapment, not knowing the definition,” he continued, “For entrapment, there had to be no predisposition to do something. Now, in here, these guys obviously had, were predisposed to protesting, to demonstrating, Right? That’s what they did. That’s how they got heard. That’s how they got known. So, there’s a predisposition there, but there is no predisposition to commit a crime like to actively go against one’s government. That’s the big point. But I don’t know if it’s enough to be an entrapment scenario.”

Although Pattis acknowledges a government presence, he remains skeptical about the idea of entrapment.

“There were a lot of confidential informants embedded in the group, and some of them participated, but I don’t think anybody in the government got up one day and said, ‘let’s do this to entrap these people’,” he explained, “I just don’t think that’s the case.”

Yellow Brick Roadmaps to the Grift That Never Was
Treniss Evans, Condemned USA Founder

Interestingly enough, a recent barrage of accusations of impropriety may be more telling about government corruption interference in first amendment activity than anything that happened on January 6th. Within the relatively close-knit circle of January 6th defendants, their legal counsel, and those pushing for awareness and funding, it’s become commonplace to see one person or another claiming that people are profiting from these cases. Some say the entire thing is a scam.

“I’ve seen it from every angle, and it’s sad because it’s almost like it’s a planned,” Roger Roots remarked, “If you followed the COINTELPRO history, they did the same thing to the Black Panthers in the 1970s. They did the same thing to the American Indian movement. They did the same thing to the Civil Rights movement, where government operatives would get inside those movements and start spreading vicious rumors that someone’s cheating on someone’s wife and someone’s stealing money. I’m not saying that’s what all of it is, but you know, when people nitpick over fundraising, I say God bless the other group if they’re raising money, I want them to raise money.”

Steve Metcalf’s response was straight from New York.

“Let me tell you something right now,” he fired back at the question, “My practice is volume, and it’s big cases, and it’s nonstop every single day. All five boroughs. The Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan. I barely go to Staten Island, Long Island, and sometimes up north. If the money is right, I got homicides out all the way up to Buffalo. So, my practice is fluid. Every day doesn’t stop. My wife is my partner. My wife could only handle so much. We had just hired a new associate at the time, Sierra Santiago, who used to work for us and was a student of my wife, who my wife used to teach at St. John’s. So, we’re in a transitional period. I’m going through a lot. I need a lot of help.”

“There was no money,” Metcalf continued emphatically, “and a serious obligation and commitment that had to be made. Roger Roots flew out three days later, no questions asked, just did what he had to do, jumped on a plane, and met me in D.C. It blew my mind.”

“Who came to bat for me?” he rhetorically asked, “Condemned USA.”

As Metcalf went on to explain the realities of taking on a federal government with endless resources became apparent.

“This trial was predicted to only last a month and a half,” he explained, “Then two months, turned to three months. Three months turned into four months. I couldn’t devote time to anything else. This was intense. So now I’m out there with no money. Now no money to some people is, you could think, ‘Oh yeah, he’s working for free’. No. No money to me means I lose money on a daily basis to the tune of 20 to $30,000 a month.”

Still, he continued.

“Think about that. I was dying financially. My wife supported me and said, ‘Steve, you gotta do what you gotta do’. But no one ever thought that we were gonna wipe out our entire savings on this. The only people who actually came to bat was Condemned USA. I had promises here, promises there, promises here, promises there. I don’t want to get into the details on that, but Condemned USA came to bat, without question, on a daily basis. So, anything about grifting — that’s a bunch of crap.”

“There’s no way that Dominic Pezzola’s defense could have been run anywhere as effectively. And there’s no way I could have lasted this marathon. This was a marathon,” he explained, “I had to treat it that way. And Norm told me that in the beginning. He’s like, ‘Steve, this is not a sprint; it’s a marathon. You gotta last. And you gotta do what you can to freaking last’. There’s no way I would’ve lasted the marathon without Condemned USA.”

A slightly less exuberant Norm Pattis addressed many of the same challenges as his colleagues.

“I was asked into the case by another council, and I said, ‘What are we gonna do about fees?’ And, the comment was, ‘There’s plenty of support out there. Don’t worry about it’.”

Unfortunately for Pattis and every other professional who devoted themselves to this case, reality showed its ugly face once again.

“I didn’t even cover my Air BnB expenses in this case, let alone be paid an attorney’s fee,” he explained, “As far as financial decisions go, this is probably one of the dumbest ones that I’ve made in my career.”

Despite the challenges, Pattis knew it was a job that needed to be done. Someone had to stand in the gap to defend liberty.

“In terms of professional satisfaction in doing the right thing, I’d do it all over again. I think these guys needed a defense,” he says.

“If there’s money out there, I don’t know who’s getting it. I don’t know where it’s going,” he said while laughing at the insinuations from a seemingly uninformed public, “Ashton Richie and Condemned USA; these folks have stepped up and helped me along the way and made it less catastrophic than it could otherwise have been. I don’t know if there are grifters. I just know if there’s a yellow brick road here, nobody gave me the map.”

With an underfunded battle at trial behind them and efforts to recover any scraps of what was lost in the trial, attorneys are now looking forward to the uphill battles to come.

“Obviously, the government’s gonna come in with proposals to sentence these guys to the max,” Roots predicted, “They just released the Stewart Rodes recommendation of 25 years…So they’ll probably do the same thing to the Proud Boys, including Pezzola.”

“Given the various arguments and requirements of sentencing in this case, I don’t expect sentences to be imposed until sometime in August or September,” Pattis explained, “Notices of appeal will be filed shortly thereafter. It’s about a 20,000-page transcript, the trial transcript. So that has to be purchased, studied, and briefs written. I don’t think a brief will be filed in this case until sometime after the first of the year in 2024. My hope and expectation, and dream, is that Judge Kelly comes to his senses and grants our post-trial motions to dismiss this case. Absent that, I think these guys are looking at a decade or more behind bars.”

Meanwhile, Pezzola, Biggs, and the rest of the Proud Boys will be forced to wait the appeals process out — behind bars and separated from their families.

Fight for the Proud Boys with Condemned USA

An Uncertain Future for a Union on the Verge
As political rhetoric heats up, Marjorie Taylor-Greene has made public calls for National Divorce.

While the lives of the Proud Boys, and thousands of others, continue to be subjected to a weaponized Department of Justice and a complicit judiciary, it’s only reasonable to consider what these rulings might lead to. Rhetoric continues to lean toward discussion of the concept of “National Divorce,” with increasing numbers of disenfranchised Americans voicing their frustration with the choices they’ve been forced to consider.

To further understand what this might mean for our future, I thought it wise to gather the thoughts of these attorneys and compare what we see now to the 1857 Supreme Court decision in the Dred Scott case — that singular representation of the last great division in our country that eventually led to a civil war.

“If they steal the 2024 election, I think the right, even the moderate right, will realize this is an absolute scam, and there’s a very real chance we will start seeing secession,” Roger Roots warned, “Polls show the majority of Republicans believe they were robbed in 2020. And by the way, at one time, one-third of Democrats believe the same thing. Now polls change a little bit over time. But even now, we’re talking about millions of Americans who believe they were robbed in 2020. So if they do it again in 2024, I could see major movements in states to secede or get away or to disempower the US government because it is not representative of the voters.”

Even in a situation where the right retakes control of the White House, Roots believes the country is primed for an era of problems. As extensively documented, the left has no issue with participating in political violence.

“I’m a card-carrying libertarian myself, so honestly, I don’t think we can get more tyrannical than we are right now. People don’t realize it,” he elaborated, “We’re borderline China level of control, the government is moving in to monitor every transaction, and the people just have put up with it for so long. I think there might be a breaking point. The Covid thing though, it was so depressing for me because people just submitted this so much, so it’s hard to say. I’m always shocked at how much people put up with, but there has to be a breaking point.”

Steve Metcalf was much less inclined to draw comparisons to the civil war era, perhaps reasonably mindful of how any discussion gets twisted by corporate media. He shifted focus toward recent divisions and how they’ve exposed all the un-mended tears in the fabric of our society.

“Just look at the term ‘seditious conspiracy’,” he explained, “I don’t think ever in our history has a seditious conspiracy been found without serious force, without serious deadly weapons. They narrowed it down to the Oathkeepers and the Proud Boys, and this is where I go back to the tools theory. The tools theory allows for someone…like Trump, people like Alex Jones.”

With left-wing media openly salivating over what this conviction means for bringing similar charges against Donald Trump, it’s tough to envision a scenario where Metcalf’s predictions turn out to be false.

“That’s next. They’re gonna come after the big fish now,” Metcalf warned, “Trump announced his candidacy. He gets indicted in Manhattan. That’s not enough. What do you think they’re gonna do? They’re gonna keep going. I called this before he lost. So what this means for the future is that they’re gonna go after big fish on this new theory of conspiracy and this new rewritten conspiracy war crap based on what happened at the Proud Boys trial…Anybody who talks to any message they have given to their own freaking mother could be used as a statement in furtherance of that conspiracy. And then anybody who shows up at a demonstration and does something wrong could be seen as a tool that he used to advance his theory or advance whatever conspiracy he wanted.”

“I just think that the laws have been rewritten,” he continued, “The precedent has been set, and anybody could be a target. It doesn’t matter who you are. And we’re only seeing the beginning of it right now. This January 6th thing is gonna hold up Washington, D.C. for the next four years. These trials are gonna keep going. People are gonna keep getting convicted, sentences are gonna keep going up and up and up, and you’re gonna have people spending decades in jail over this garbage.”

For Attorney Steven Metcalf, the future looks grim.

“And then what, and then what?” He asked, “Who’s not gonna be afraid to speak up? Who’s not gonna be afraid to say anything? The way I see it is people are afraid. When it comes down to it, you try to speak up and try to exercise your constitutional rights, your free speech, all these things that these people believed in. And that’s what our country was founded upon. And then all of a sudden, you could get the FBI running up in your house and ripping you away from your family, lose your business, lose everything you worked for. And then what? Yeah. So this is basically eliminating the opposition. Political dissent is basically gone now.”

Just as he was in his closing argument from the Proud Boys trial, Norm Pattis was once again somber while discussing his observations of the current state of our increasingly fragile union.

“I thought if a jury following the law would’ve acquitted in this case, it would’ve gone a long way to healing divisions,” he explained before cautioning against what he says is an incorrect line of questioning, “People shouldn’t be asking ‘why Donald Trump’. They shouldn’t be asking ‘why January 6th’. They should be asking, ‘What are the conditions in this country that have driven people to a sense of desperation, such that January 6th occurred, such that Donald Trump looked like a great idea as president? Why are we so divided? What’s going wrong in the country?’.”

After explaining this discussion, he believes Americans should be having, Pattis reflected on the historical record and what our country stands to lose if we can’t find a way to move past the division.

“In the Civil War era, we lost 600,000 Americans to violence in that conflict,” he explained, “But two years after a violent struggle — a war that cost 600,000 lives, almost every rebel had been repatriated in the country, united together in some hope that we could build something together. We’re still indicting people two years and a half years later for misdemeanors and threatening to do more for a riot that occurred one afternoon for several hours. There’s something broken in the country. I don’t know whether people will really mobilize in response to these trials. As you pointed out earlier, the fundraising and support for the guys has been nominal. The conservative press hasn’t paid attention. So, you know, I get the impression that these are all sunshine patriots. They like to holler a lot about the meaning of the Constitution and their sense of outrage, but they need to step forward now when it counts. These are men and women who are losing contact with their communities and their families for the ‘crime’ of believing in our founding documents and then participating in a riot. Misdemeanors are fine. For some of the more egregious offenders, a year or two, but seditious conspiracy? Using people’s political speech as proof of an intent to engage in a crime that you can’t define? This is a really, really, really dark chapter in American history, and I don’t know what the ending will be.

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