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Investigators tighten circle around Proud Boys for Jan. 6 violence with two more key arrests

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A total of 13 Proud Boys, who played a central role in the ability of the pro-Trump mob to break down police barricades and enter the Capitol building that day, have now been charged in the insurrection. The indictment is similar to one unveiled by prosecutors against two other key Proud Boys figures—Ethan Nordean and Joe Biggs—who played key roles in leading the mob that day.

Last July, Rehl’s Philadelphia Proud Boys group gathered outside a Fraternal Order of Police lodge where Pence was speaking, and a small cluster of protesters had gathered. The men shouted at Black Lives Matter protesters and at a group of women.

Rehl, left, with Biggs on Jan. 6.

Rehl, a 35-year-old Port Richmond man, was among them, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported, “drinking beer and chatting with others in the parking lot who were openly carrying a Proud Boys flag.” Among the men they were chatting with were Philadelphia police officers, underscoring the Proud Boys’ cozy relationship with police officers around the country—a relationship that helped feed their smug far-right extremism. Rehl is a veteran and the son of two Philadelphia police officers.

On Jan. 6, their view of Pence had clearly transformed, largely because the vice president had chosen not to try to contest the validation of the Electoral College votes as Donald Trump had urged him to do—which the crowd at Trump’s rally that morning viewed as a betrayal. The mob entering the Capitol was filmed chanting: “Hang Mike Pence!” Pence himself narrowly escaped encountering this mob, it was revealed during Trump’s subsequent impeachment trial.

Rehl, who later turned up in photos in The New Yorker showing Proud Boys trashing the Senate offices of Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley, is expected to have his first hearing in federal court in Philadelphia Friday. His indictment makes clear that federal prosecutors are preparing a conspiracy case charging several Proud Boys with conspiracy, including Biggs and Nordean.

According to indictments released in those cases, investigators say that Biggs, 37, of Ormond Beach, Florida, and Nordean, 30, of Auburn, Washington, were equipped with radios and a bullhorn as they led a mob of about 100 men through the streets of Washington and up the Capitol Mall. Several Proud Boys were among the rioters who shattered windows that enabled others to enter the building and attack Capitol Police officers inside.

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