Leading Proud Boys member pleads guilty to U.S. Capitol riot charges

By Jan Wolfe and Jacqueline Thomsen

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A leader of the far-right Proud Boys pleaded guilty on Friday to charges related to the attack on the U.S. Capitol, a victory for prosecutors that could bolster their cases against members of the group.

Charles Donohoe, the leader of the group's North Carolina chapter at the time of the Capitol attack, entered the guilty plea during court hearing on Friday in the District of Columbia.

Donohoe admitted to conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, and assaulting and impeding police officers.

Under U.S. sentencing guidelines, Donohoe faces a likely sentence of around six years in prison, with credit for time already served. He will be sentenced at a later court hearing.

Donohoe agreed to cooperate with prosecutors as they prepare for trial against other Proud Boys defendants. Donohoe, 34, was arrested in March 2021. He has been in custody since last year.

Former President Donald Trump's supporters stormed the seat of Congress that day in a bid to overturn his 2020 election defeat.

Donohoe and other Proud Boys were videotaped leading a crowd toward the Capitol during the riot.

Video: Ex-Proud Boys leader Enrique Torres pleads not guilty to Jan. 6 charges

"Mr. Donohoe is charged with interfering in the nation's peaceful transfer of power," U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly said during a court hearing in June, adding that the charges are "gravely serious matters that favor detention."

An indictment unsealed last month alleged that Proud Boys chairman Enrique Tarrio was deeply involved in recruiting members of the group and directing their actions in the days prior to the Jan. 6 attack.

Tarrio's attorney entered a not guilty plea on his behalf during a hearing on Tuesday.

In a separate hearing on Friday, a different judge declined to postpone a trial scheduled for some members of the Oath Keepers militia group who joined in the Capitol breach. Those defendants are charged with seditious conspiracy, a rarely used law prohibiting attempts to overthrow the government.

Defense lawyers had requested the delay, saying they needed more time to review evidence. But U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta cited his own scheduling conflicts and the need to bring cases to trial.

Lawyers also suggested that all 11 Oath Keepers defendants go on trial at the same time. Mehta said that proposal was logistically impossible in the federal courthouse in the District of Columbia.

(Reporting by Jan Wolfe and Jacqueline Thomsen; additional reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Scott Malone and Alistair Bell)