https://www.theepochtimes.com/former-proud-boys-leader-tarrio-seeks-change-of-venue-for-jan-6-trial_4441485.html

Former Proud Boys national chairman Enrique Tarrio filed a motion for a change of venue for his Jan. 6 criminal case from the District of Columbia to the Southern District of Florida due to “significant prejudice that exists in the current jury pool.”

Attorneys for Tarrio filed a 25-page change-of-venue motion on May 2 with U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Kelly in Washington D.C.

The motion came on the same day the latest Jan. 6 defendant—former New York police officer Thomas Webster—was found guilty on all counts by a District of Columbia jury. Federal juries have convicted four Jan. 6 defendants tried before them since February.

“In Washington D.C., the presumed prejudice against Tarrio is so great that a fair and impartial trial is impossible,” said the motion, filed by attorney Sabino Jauregui of Hialeah, Fla.

“The D.C. potential jury pool has been tainted without cure in a singular way that is unparalleled in legal history,” Jauregui wrote. “In D.C., the media coverage of the J6 events and the effects thereof saturate the public with prejudicial and inflammatory publicity.

“This detrimental pretrial publicity has created widespread community prejudice against Tarrio and the Proud Boys. Specifically, Tarrio, as the very public face of the Proud Boys, is situated in a unique position where the prejudice to him is much greater than any other ‘J6’ defendant. ”

Former Proud Boys Chairman Enrique Tarrio talks with a law enforcement officer in Portland, Ore., on Sept. 26, 2020. (Jim Urquhart/Reuters)

On March 7, Tarrio was charged in an indictment with conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, and aiding and abetting the following crimes: obstruction of an official proceeding, obstruction of law enforcement during civil disorder, destruction of government property, and assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers. Tarrio was not present at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

“If ‘extraordinary local prejudice’ will prevent the defendant from obtaining a fair trial in the district of the offense, then due process requires transferring the trial to another appropriate alternative venue,” the motion said.

‘Inflammatory Publicity’

The court must examine “whether there was a barrage of inflammatory publicity, whether news accounts were factual or opinionated, whether those accounts included material that would not be admissible, the size of the overall jury pool, and the availability of judicial tools to mitigate the prejudicial effect of pretrial publicity,” the motion said.

Jauregui wrote that potential jury members come from “the most politically uniform community in the entire country.” In the last two presidential elections, the motion said, the Democrat candidate won the District of Columbia with 92 and 91 percent of the vote, respectively.

“There is an absolute lack of political diversity in D.C. that is sui generis in our political system,” Jauregui wrote. “While in most criminal cases, this unique political landscape would be irrelevant, in this case, it cuts to the heart of the characteristics of this community. This case has a political aspect that cannot be denied.”

The jury pool of fewer than 500,000 residents has been “bombarded with propaganda and negative publicity on a daily basis by the local media, local politicians, and national politicians that live in the local community,” the motion said.

“The negative publicity has programmed the potential D.C. jury pool to believe that an attack was committed by white supremacists intent on insurrection and their violent fanatical actions caused a curfew, a lockdown to be placed, and a military occupation and hold for their protection over a period of months.”

Tarrio has been tagged as a white supremacist, even though he is a brown-skinned Cuban American, Jauregui said. As a former Proud Boys leader, he stands for “the antithesis of leftist liberal ideology” and must be “crushed, destroyed and canceled by the left-leaning members of the jury pool in Washington D.C. There cannot be any other verdict in their minds but guilty.”

President Joe Biden has stoked bias against Jan. 6 defendants, calling them “a group of thugs, insurrectionists, political extremists, and white supremacists,” Jauregui said. Attorney General Merrick Garland spoke of Jan. 6 and the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing in the same breath. He suggested that a line connected it “back to the battles of the original Justice Department against the Ku Klux Klan.”

District judges in Washington D.C. have rejected every change-of-venue request from Jan. 6 defendants. Among the pending proposals is a motion filed on behalf of two Oath Keepers defendants, who backed up their bid with a survey they say shows substantial bias against Jan. 6 defendants.

Nearly three out of four District of Columbia residents are likely to find Jan. 6 defendants guilty in federal court, while 85 percent believe the events of Jan. 6 were criminal acts, including insurrection, an attack, or a riot, a survey done for defendants Thomas Caldwell and Connie Meggs found. Numerous other Oath Keepers defendants have joined the motion.

The survey by Inlux Research + Analytics is the third recent research project that alleges the pool of potential jurors in the District of Columbia is biased against defendants charged with crimes stemming from unrest at the U.S. Capitol.

The Oath Keepers motion concluded that the D.C. jury pool “is saturated with prejudice.”

Joseph M. Hanneman

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Joseph M. Hanneman is a reporter for The Epoch Times with a focus on the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol incursion and its aftermath; and general news in the State of Wisconsin. His work over a nearly 40-year career has appeared in Catholic World Report, the Racine Journal Times, the Wisconsin State Journal and the Chicago Tribune. Reach him at: joseph.hanneman@epochtimes.us

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