Florida “Proud Boy” denied bail despite aiding FBI against Antifa and being a veteran with no criminal history

Joe Biggs with Senator Lindsey Graham. (Parler)

Joe Biggs talked to America’s Voice News about the reason why he wanted to show a right-wing presence in the city of Portland and against Antifa in 2019.

Frank Fernandez, The Daytona Beach News-Journal

Saying he saw no way to ensure the safety of the community or sufficiently monitor him, a federal judge on Monday ordered that Volusia County Proud Boys leader Joseph R. Biggs to be locked up as he awaits trial in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol building.

Joe Biggs with Senator Lindsey Graham. (Parler)

Federal Judge Timothy J. Kelly ordered that Biggs and another Proud Boys leader, Ethan “Rufio Panman” Nordean of Auburn, Washington, be detained.

Biggs, 37, lives in unincorporated Volusia County near Ormond Beach. He was a leader among the Proud Boys in the planning for “an organized and violent attack” upon the country’s democracy and its Capitol building on Jan. 6, according to a motion federal prosecutors have filed.

The judge ordered that Biggs turn himself over to U.S. Marshals at the direction of pre-trial services, which is currently supervising Biggs. The judge also ordered Nordean to do the same.

Philly Proud Boys President Zach Rehl (center, in camouflage hat) and Joe Biggs, a leader of the group from Florida (left, in gray plaid shirt) at the forefront of a crowd of members of the organization that marched on the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6. (Image from FBI affidavit/TNS)

“No condition or combination of condition will reasonably assure the safety of any other person or the community,” Kelly said.

Kelly also said he saw no way he could put enough restrictions or conditions on Biggs or Nordean to ensure they did not use a computer or associate with other Proud Boys.

The judge noted that Biggs was an organizer for the Proud Boys and Nordean was a leader and they had shown the ablity to gather large groups of people, both those sympathetic to their views and even those in opposition.

The judge also cited several times during the hearing that neither Biggs nor Nordean had expressed any remorse.

Biggs’ defense attorney had argued that Biggs simply got swept up in the crowd as it flowed toward the Capitol. He added that Biggs is a military veteran with no criminal history who is caring for his ailing mother who has cancer. He also said Biggs has helped the FBI in the past as it sought information about Antifa.

Prosecutors: Joe Both Biggs and his supporters dangerous

Prosecutors had asked the judge to revoke Biggs’ pre-trial release and order him held pending trial.

“As a leader of the Proud Boys members who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, (Biggs) presents a danger not only based on his own potential violence, but the violence by others who undoubtedly still support him. In light of the new charges and additional evidence of the Defendant’s dangerousness, he should be held pending trial,” according to the motion filed March 20 by Assistant U.S. Attorneys James B. Nelson and Jason B.A. McCullough.

On March 19, Biggs, 37, was indicted along with three other Proud Boys, including Nordean, who was a member of the Proud Boys Elders Chapter, which is made up of other “elders” who lead the organization, according to the indictment.

Biggs and the the others were indicted on five federal counts: conspiracy; obstruction of an official proceeding and aiding and abetting; obstruction of law enforcement during civil disorder and aiding and abetting; destruction of government property and aiding and abetting; and entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds.

Biggs and the others conspired to “corruptly obstruct” the certification of the Electoral College vote by Congress and interfere with law enforcement who were protecting the Capitol and Congress, according to the indictment

Prosecutors contend that Biggs is too great a threat not to be detained, according to the motion filed in federal court for the District of Columbia.

“The Defendant’s own destructive conduct does not adequately capture his danger to the public. The true nature of Defendant’s dangerousness stems from his role as a leader, and his ability to encourage and coordinate the actions of others in breaching the Capitol at a precise place and time,” the prosecutors wrote in their motion.

While Biggs has no known criminal history and has strong ties to where he resides, he is “completely unrepentant” about the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, the prosecutors’ motion states.

Defense: Biggs ‘super compliant’

But Biggs has done nothing to warrant revoking his pre-trial release and prosecutors are simply restating information they knew since Biggs’ initial arrest on Jan. 20, Biggs defense attorney John Daniel Hull, replied in a motion filed March 29.

“Biggs by all reports has been a compliant home detainee for well over two months,” Hull’s motion states.

He quoted an email from Charles Sweatt of pre-trial services for the Middle District of Florida which stated that “Mr. Biggs has presented no concerns regarding compliance since his release from custody into our district.

Hull said Sweatt on March 29 described Biggs as “super compliant.”

During his home detention Biggs has worn a GPS monitor and undergone weekly drug testing, psychiatric evaluation and medical checkups and DNA sampling. Biggs also surrendered any firearms and his passport and his travel was restricted, Hull wrote in his motion

Hull said there was no evidence Biggs intended to enter the Capitol “until those last few seconds when he became part of a movement and flow of people who unfortunately did,” Hull wrote.

He said that contrary to prosecutors’ claims that Biggs poses a threat, “Biggs loves and honors his family and community,” Hull wrote.

“On Jan. 6, this defendant did not ‘storm’ anything. He was not armed. He assaulted no one. He did not steal or damage anything. He did not threaten anyone. He did not resist arrest. He did not scream or yell at anyone. He did not urge anyone else to do any of these things,” Hull wrote.

Prosecutors replied in another motion March 31 that Hull was “attempting to paint a picture of an outspoken man who inexplicably found himself part of a movement and flow of people” who entered the U.S. Capitol building.

But Biggs “planned, organized, fundraised, and led others onto the Capitol grounds” to obstruct the certification of the presidential election vote by the Electoral College and interfere with law enforcement, prosecutors wrote.


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