IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Defense lawyer at Proud Boys trial claims juror discrimination

A lawyer for a Proud Boys extremist facing sedition charges related to Jan. 6 said potential jurors had been rejected because they’re white and Republican.


A defense lawyer for one of the Proud Boys is crying discrimination, claiming that several potential jurors at the extremists’ sedition trial were rejected by prosecutors because they’re white and Republican.

Charges against five members of the Proud Boys include seditious conspiracy and conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, stemming from their alleged roles in the deadly Jan. 6 riot. Opening arguments are set for this week.

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly, who was appointed by President Donald Trump, batted down a complaint from one of the defendant’s lawyers, who claimed that the process of whittling down the jury pool had unfairly discriminated against several white men and a Catholic clergyman. 

It took 10 days to select 12 jurors and four alternates. At the end of the process, Nicholas Smith, who’s representing Proud Boys member Ethan Nordean, took exception to the choices. 

According to the website Law & Crime

Smith said that the prosecution’s decision to cut multiple “white, male Republican[s],” as well as a Roman Catholic priest, from the panel amounted to discrimination. “None of these jurors expressed any sympathy for rioters or Donald Trump,” Smith said, later adding: “There is no possible explanation that I can think of for cutting these jurors except for prohibited characteristics.”

Smith probably should have thought a little harder, though, because U.S. Attorney Jason McCullough gave a list of nonracial reasons for striking those particular jurors. 

According to Law & Crime

One, McCullough said, indicated he might be “sympathetic to the defendants’ views on Antifa.” Another juror, who came to jury selection “dressed in a full suit,” raised concerns that his “composure, his professional status could cause other jurors to add undue weight to his role in the deliberations” and that he could “take control of a jury panel.” As to the priest, McCullough said that there was a concern that he would “bring his line of work into the jury room” and that “defense attorneys might seek to exploit his occupation by appealing to his sense of redemption or equity.”

The judge ruled that removing the priest from the pool wasn’t discrimination since it was done because of a concern about his professional experience — not specifically because he is a priest. And Kelly ruled that claims about discrimination against white jurors or male jurors didn’t hold weight, as both demographic groups are still represented on the panel.

“This isn’t a situation at all where the effect of these peremptories is to render the jury bereft of white people or men,” Kelly said

There’s a deep, dark irony here that can’t be ignored. The Jan. 6 attack, which involved many self-identifying Proud Boys members, was largely inspired by conspiratorial claims of anti-white mistreatment. Trump and his allies spread lies about voter fraud in districts with large populations of Black voters, claiming these districts had “stolen” the election from the mostly white Republican Party.

Now we find a lawyer for one of the Proud Boys making a remarkably similar claim about the jury.

As the saying goes: “Birds of a feather flock together.”