March 4, 2021

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Filing: Proud Boys member considering plea in Capitol breach

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A Rochester man identified as a member of the Proud Boys is considering a guilty plea in his case stemming from the Capitol riots

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — A Rochester man identified as a member of the Proud Boys who allegedly smashed a window at the Capitol on Jan. 6 to allow rioters inside is considering a guilty plea, according to a recent court filing.

A recent filing by Dominic Pezzola’s attorney said Pezzola accepts responsibility for his actions and wants to make amends. It was not clear if a plea deal has been offered.

Pezzola faces charges including conspiracy and assaulting, resisting, or impeding a Capitol police officer. Pezzola and fellow Proud Boy William Pepe initially were charged last month with offenses including illegally entering a restricted building, before prosecutors added the more serious charge of conspiracy.

The far-right group is known for violent confrontations with antifascists and other ideological opponents at protests.

Authorities have said Pezzola snatched an officer’s shield and used it to smash a window and allow other rioters inside. He also allegedly was seen on video inside the Capitol with a cigar, having what he called a “victory smoke,” and boasting that he “knew we could take this” over.

An unidentified witness told the FBI that Pezzola was with a group at the Capitol whose members said they would have killed anyone they got hold of, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and then-Vice President Mike Pence, according to prosecutors.

In the court filing, Pezzola’s attorney wrote that Pezzola, a Marine reservist for six years who was honorably discharged, was a participant at the Capitol breach but “there is no evidence nor claim that he ever physically harmed any person there,” the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reported.

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