Capitol riot defendant flips to help prosecutors against Proud Boys

At least one of the Capitol riot defendants has flipped against the Proud Boys, agreeing to provide information that could allow the Justice Department to bring a more severe charge against the group’s leadership, according to an attorney involved in the case.

The development is the first indication that people charged in the insurrection are cooperating against the pro-Trump extremist group. Federal prosecutors have made clear they are focused on building conspiracy cases against leadership of the Proud Boys and paramilitary groups like the Oath Keepers.

Court records have made murmurs for weeks about cooperators and plea deals in the works, and prosecutors revealed that a rioter wearing an Oath Keepers hat was in talks to cooperate earlier this week.

Yet the cases are still in early stages. None of the defendants have pleaded guilty yet, and prosecutors have struggled at times to convince judges to perceive high-profile defendants as conspirators who organized the violence toward Congress on January 6 in advance.

What happens next is likely to follow the same pattern in organized crime or drug investigations, with prosecutors pressuring knowledgeable defendants to become witnesses. Some may sign up to cooperate, and many of those charged are likely to plead guilty to avoid trial or more severe charges.

It’s always been likely prosecutors would gain cooperators against the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers and other extremist factions involved in the riot, according to several defense attorneys involved in the cases.