By Steve Neavling
The seditious conspiracy trial involving the Proud Boys was temporarily halted this week after prosecutors revealed that a defense witness has been an FBI informant since 2021, defense attorneys said in a court filing.
“During this period of time, the [informant] has been in contact via telephone, text messaging and other electronic means, with one or more of the counsel for the defense and at least one defendant,” Carmen Hernandez, an attorney for one of the five Proud Boys, Zachary Rehl, said in a motion, Politico reports.
The trial, which has stretched into its fourth month, involves five Proud Boy members who are charged with conspiring to block the transfer of presidential power to Joe Biden after the 2020 election.
Prosecutors argued that the informant was never involved in gathering information on the far-right group and that her relationship with the bureau ended after she was asked to appear as a witness.
Prosecutors said they had no idea the informant was communicating with the defendants or their counsel.
“This is all news to the government,” said Denise Cheung, acting deputy chief of DOJ’s criminal division.
Norm Pattis, one of the defense attorneys, said the revelation should put an end to the trial.
“I don’t want the trial to proceed,” Pattis said.
A judge will determine when – and if – to resume the trial.