Former Proud Boys chairman Enrique Tarrio said that federal prosecutors have unfairly used “locker room talk” against Jan. 6 defendants, echoing a similar defense used by former President Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Tarrio’s comments came hours before a jury was set to begin deliberating the fate of five Proud Boys members charged with seditious conspiracy in connection with the attack on the U.S. Capitol.
You are reading: Ex-Proud Boys chief uses ‘locker room’ defense from jail as case heads to jury
“Locker room talk” generally refers to conversations that are held privately with small groups of like-minded or similarly gendered peers due to its sexually charged language, situations or innuendos.
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Trump used “locker room talk” during a 2016 debate with Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton to rationalize comments he made about violating women in a 2005 video with NBC’s Billy Bush.
Tarrio, speaking Tuesday night from jail during a Twitter Spaces event hosted by far-right website The Gateway Pundit, decided to use the same card to criticize the American justice system and what he sees as unfair treatment of Jan. 6 defendants.
“What they were trying to do, what people are trying to do — and this is in general, again, I’m speaking in general — what they are trying to do is manipulate how we talk to each other in the locker room,” Tarrio said. “It’s not fair, it really isn’t. … It’s just not right. It’s not the justice system that we grew up in civics class learning about.”
In addition, Tarrio said that he believes the Justice Department is weaponized against Jan. 6 defendants and some of the charges were an overreach.
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“I’m going to be dead honest: If you walked in the building, you know, I agree, maybe you should get hit with trespass. If you assaulted a police officer, fine, get hit with assault on a police officer. If you broke something, if you stole something, get charged that way,” Tarrio said, according to NBC News. “What we’re seeing here with a lot of these cases is they’re overcharging these cases, they want to give multiple years, decades, in some of these cases.”
Tarrio, Joe Biggs, Ethan Nordean, Dominic Pezzola and Zachary Rehl are facing nine counts, including a charge of seditious conspiracy.
Seditious conspiracy refers to two or people, in any state, territory or any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, levy war against it or to oppose by force and try to prevent the execution of any law, according to U.S. code.
Anyone convicted of seditious conspiracy would serve 20 years behind bars.