November 29, 2022

DRY RUN: Was Proud Boys’ Florida rally a Jan. 6 prequel?

DRY RUN: Was Proud Boys' Florida rally a Jan. 6 prequel?

- Advertisement Above -

The Department of Justice is investigating whether the 2018 Stop the Steal movement demonstration in Florida — with the participation of the Proud Boys — was the blueprint for the January 6th attack on the Capitol.

OW-Advertisement

Then-president Donald Trump, his ally Roger Stone, and Congressman Matt Gaetz (R-FL) tested out the blueprint after the state’s highly competitive gubernatorial race between Ron DeSantis and his Democratic opponent, Andrew Gillum.

According to The New York Times:

“The time was 2018, the setting was southern Florida, and the election in question was for governor and a hotly contested race that would help determine who controlled the United States Senate.”

“Now, four years later, the Justice Department is examining whether the tactics used then served as a model for the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.”

Five members of the far-right white nationalist group, The Proud Boys, are currently on trial for seditious conspiracy – including the organization’s leader Enrique Tarrio. Federal prosecutors are also investigating the role Proud Boy Jacob Engels played in the insurrection pre-game.

After Engels accompanied Stone on January 6th, prosecutors want to know whether he received any payments or drew up any plans for the Florida demonstration and whether he has ties to other people connected to the Proud Boys’ activities in the run-up to the storming of the Capitol, The New York Times reported.

Engels has been linked to a crypto-currency promoter, Eryka Gemma, who reportedly gave Tarrio the infamous “1776 Returns” manifesto highlighted during televised Congressional hearings over the summer.

Sponsored Links

The federal indictment against Mr. Tarrio references the memo, alleging that in December 2020 it was passed on to the chaos agent with a detailed plan for the occupation of government buildings in an attempt to stop the certification of the election results for Biden.

Sponsored Links

Sponsored Links

“An unnamed person gave Mr. Tarrio a nine-page document titled ‘1776 Returns’ that ‘set forth a plan to occupy a few “crucial buildings” in Washington on Jan. 6.’ The document specifically mentioned taking control of ‘House and Senate office buildings around the Capitol,’ the indictment said, and called for as ‘many people as possible’ to ‘show our politicians We the People are in charge.”

While the demonstrations in 2018 paled in comparison to the insurrection, they were reminiscent of the “Brooks Brothers” riots in 2000 which essentially halted the counting of votes in Florida – handing Bush the victory over former Vice President Al Gore.

“Information obtained by investigators shows that some of those on the ground in 2018 called the protests “Brooks Brothers 2.0,” a reference to the so-called “Brooks Brothers riot” during a recount of the presidential vote in Florida in 2000. During that event, supporters of George W. Bush — apparently working with Mr. Stone — stormed a local government building, stopping the vote count at a crucial moment,” The New York Times reported.

Roger Stone, a self-proclaimed “dirty trickster,” has a long history as a Republican operative. His machinations have been at the center of the January 6th Select Committee hearings and Department of Justice criminal investigation.

The Florida resident’s actions have been well documented, and his name has come up in the trials of members of the Oath Keepers. Upping the ante on the “if at first you don’t succeed” mantra and reminding America that the coup never stopped.

Original reporting by Alan Feuer and Michael S. Schmidt at The New York Times

Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick

Ty Ross

News journalist for Washington Press and Occupy Democrats.

Sponsored Links