Proud Boys member Charles Donohoe pleads guilty to conspiracy, assaulting police in Jan. 6 Capitol attack

WASHINGTON – Charles Donohoe, a member of Proud Boys leadership charged in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, pleaded guilty Friday to conspiracy to obstruct Congress and assaulting police officers.

Donohoe, 34, of Kernersville, North Carolina, faces up to 28 years in prison and a $500,000 fine when he is sentenced, but federal guidelines call for about six or seven years in prison. He also agreed to cooperate with federal authorities in the cases against fellow defendants including Enrique Tarrio, Ethan Nordean, Joseph Biggs, Zachary Rehl and Dominic Pezzola.

U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly set the trial to begin May 18 for the others.

In this Jan. 6, 2021, photo, Proud Boys members Zachary Rehl, left, and Ethan Nordean, left, walk toward the U.S. Capitol in Washington, in support of President Donald Trump. Members of the Proud Boys have been indicted on charges that they planned and carried out a coordinated attack on the U.S. Capitol to stop Congress from certifying President Joe Biden's electoral victory.
In this Jan. 6, 2021, photo, Proud Boys members Zachary Rehl, left, and Ethan Nordean, left, walk toward the U.S. Capitol in Washington, in support of President Donald Trump. Members of the Proud Boys have been indicted on charges that they planned and carried out a coordinated attack on the U.S. Capitol to stop Congress from certifying President Joe Biden's electoral victory.

Nearly 800 people have been charged in connection with the Capitol attack, when a mob supporting former President Donald Trump ransacked the building, injured 140 police officers and temporarily halted Congress' count of the Electoral College votes that sealed Joe Biden's victory.

The conspiracy charges against the Proud Boys were among the most serious. But the defendants weren’t charged with seditious conspiracy, unlike members of the Oath Keepers.

Another member of the Proud Boys, Matthew Greene of Fabius, New York, pleaded guilty earlier.

Kelly, the judge in the case, called Pezzola of Rochester, New York, who is charged with smashing through a Capitol window with a police shield, “the tip of the spear” in the attack.

Donohoe was president of his Proud Boys chapter in North Carolina and headed a new 65-member chapter called the "Ministry of Self Defense," for the Jan. 6 attack, according to prosecutors.

Tarrio allegedly created encrypted message groups in December 2020 and January 2021 to plan the attack, according to Donohoe’s plea agreement. Tarrio was arrested on another charge before the Capitol attack, so Donohoe created his own encrypted message group, according to his plea agreement.

Group members discussed the possibility of storming the Capitol as early as Jan. 4, 2021, in order to prevent the peaceful transfer of power from Trump to Biden, according to prosecutors.

More than 100 members of the Proud Boys marched from a rally Jan. 6 near the Washington Monument to the Capitol. As members breached barriers around the building, Donohoe threw two water bottles at a line of police officers.

Donohoe posted a message at 1:37 p.m. on Jan. 6 that said, “Got a riot shield,” according to his plea agreement. He also took a picture of Pezzola holding the shield.

“Def a video of one of our guys smashing out the window with a stolen police riot shield,” Donohoe posted at 4:03 p.m., according to his plea agreement.

After 7 p.m., Donohoe posted messages celebrating the attack, including how members “stormed the capitol unarmed” and “took it over unarmed.”

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Jan. 6 attack: Charles Donohoe of Proud Boys guilty in Capitol assault