Former Proud Boys Leader First to Plead Guilty to Seditious Conspiracy to Stop the Transfer of Power on January 6

A lieutenant of the Proud Boys became the group’s first member to plead guilty to seditious conspiracy in the January 6 riots at the Capitol. His actions, along with others, sought to stop the transfer of power by interrupting a joint session of the U.S. Congress.

Jeremy Bertino, 43, pleaded guilty to seditious conspiracy and a charge of unlawful possession of a firearm.

Bertino faces a statutory maximum of 20 years in prison for seditious conspiracy and up to 10 years in prison for the firearms charge. The charges also carry potential financial penalties. No sentencing date was set. 

Bertino, of Belmont, N.C., agreed to cooperate with the Justice Department as part of the plea deal against former Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio and four other Proud Boys leaders with ties to influential Donald Trump supporters Roger Stone and Alex Jones. The Proud Boys defendants are set to face trial in December.

Bertino has been on the radar of both the FBI and a House select committee investigating the events of Jan. 6. Bertino told the House panel that membership “tripled” after Trump famously urged the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by” during a 2020 presidential debate, according to a video clip of his interview played during a House hearing in June.


Bertino joined the Proud Boys in 2018, and traveled to Washington several times in 2020. On December 12, 2020, Bertino made a trip to Washington, and was stabbed and injured in an altercation. He was still recovering on January 6, 2021, after being hospitalized and released.

Bertino had agreed to join a new Proud Boys chapter, dubbed “Ministry of Self Defense” by Enrique Tarrio.

In the weeks leading to Jan. 6, Bertino participated in encrypted chats and other communication with members of MOSD leadership. Bertino understood from his discussions with MOSD leadership that they agreed that the presidential election had been stolen, that the purpose of traveling to Washington on Jan. 6, 2021, was to stop the certification of the Electoral College Vote, and that the MOSD leaders were willing to do whatever it would take, including using force against police and others, to achieve that objective.


Read more at the press release from the Department of Justice here.

Also at Washington Post