Lawyers for Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio revealed in court Friday that they plan to argue during their December seditious conspiracy trial that the far-right extremist group was in touch with law enforcement about their plans to rally in Washington, DC, on January 6, 2021.
Tarrio spoke with Metropolitan Police Lt. Shane Lamond several times about the group’s plans to attend rallies in the district around the time of the 2020 election, according to Nayib Hassan, an attorney for Tarrio. Hassan said he wants to call Lamond as a defense witness.
“How can there be sedition if they’re informing law enforcement” of their plans? Hassan asked District Judge Timothy Kelly during a pretrial conference Friday.
Hassan said the officer had been threatened by the Justice Department with obstruction charges if he decides to testify to communications he had with Tarrio because his testimony “would completely and totally destroy [the DOJ’s] case.”
Prosecutor Erik Kenerson categorically denied the allegation, telling Kelly the idea that “the government has somehow threatened witnesses … all of that is just categorically false.” Kenerson said witnesses “don’t belong” to defense attorneys or prosecutors and that defense counsel has known about the government’s contacts with Lamond for months.
Tarrio and four other members of the Proud Boys are set to go on trial on December 19 for charges relating to the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol, including seditious conspiracy. All five have pleaded not guilty.
According to sources familiar with the matter, DC Police placed Lamond on administrative leave in February 2022. DC Police told CNN on Friday that Lamond is still on administrative leave but would not comment on the reasons why.
“Lt. Lamond has dedicated his life to fighting the illegal conduct that occurred on January 6th and is adamantly opposed to those who stoke fear and hatred and denounces the violent conduct of all those who supported the insurrection and attacked our city and our nation on January 6th,” Lamond’s attorney, Mark Schamel, said in a statement.
“Lt. Lamond’s decorated career has been to protect this city and this nation and he has never done anything to assist the criminals who attacked our democracy on January 6th,” Schamel added.
Tarrio told CNN at the time Lamond was placed on leave that he viewed Lamond as his DC Police “liaison” and was in touch with Lamond “anytime [Proud Boys] went to rally in DC.”
“It is ridiculous to say that he was doing something improper. He literally was keeping two groups from clashing with one another by letting me know where Antifa or BLM protesters were so that we could avoid running into them,” Tarrio told CNN in a February interview. “Isn’t having communication to prevent violence what community policing is all about?”
CNN’s Whitney Wild and Sara Sidner contributed to this report.