(Ken Silva, Headline USA) An FBI- and CIA-trained intelligence operative drafted a key piece of evidence being used in the ongoing Jan. 6 Proud Boys sedition conspiracy trial, defendant Dominic Pezzola said Friday in a motion seeking a mistrial over the matter.
Pezzola filed his motion after prosecutors introduced a document entitled “1776 Returns” as evidence the previous day. Assistant U.S. Attorney Conor Mulroe told the jury that the document—found in a Telegram message with Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio—describes plans to lay siege to Capitol Hill by strategically occupying most of the congressional office space around the Capitol.
Government portrayed the 1776 Returns document as being created by Tarrio or the other defendants, when in fact it originated with FBI- and CIA-trained asset Samuel Armes, Pezzola said.
Pezzola cited an interview Armes conducted with the Jan. 6 Select Committee, which was published on Dec. 14, 2022, after the 1776 Returns document was already ruled admissible as evidence against the Proud Boys.
In that interview, conducted last July, Armes told the J6 committee that he initially began working on a document to plan for worst-case scenarios as a “wargaming” exercise amidst the civil unrest of mid-2020. That document ended up being passed to Tarrio through a mutual friend, Erika Flores, and ended up morphing into what’s now the 1776 Returns record, according to Armes.
Armes said he was trained to conduct wargaming strategies when he was being “groomed” to work for the FBI or CIA while attending the University of Southern Florida. He further told the committee that he was never an employee of the FBI or CIA, but that he has worked for the State Department and for U.S. Special Operations Command out of MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa.
Armes, who works in the cryptocurrency industry, said the document he initially started was drastically altered by the time it was given to Tarrio—though by who, he doesn’t know.
“[Flores] asked if she could see it, and I said sure. And so I ended up sharing it with her on a Google Drive. And after that, I thought nothing of it. I would’ve never imagined that it turned into the document that I was shown last week, would’ve had zero clue, zero idea,” he said.
“I mean, it’s pretty horrifying to think that that document was even used and actually took from what I had written, which—obviously, you know, it’s horrific for me to even imagine that something that I would’ve written would’ve been used to source this kind of, like, I guess call it ‘terroristic document,’” he added.
However, Flores reportedly told the Jan. 6 Select Committee that the Armes did, in fact, draft the entire 1776 Returns document. When the Jan. 6 Select Committee asked Armes if he could produce his original document, he said he couldn’t find it.
Pezzola requested an evidentiary hearing to determine who really created the 1776 Returns document.
If it turns out that Armes really did author the entire document, “this means that the most damning document in this trial was authored by the intelligence community—someone ‘groomed’ by the FBI itself,” said Pezzola.
“Ultimately, if the information laid out here is true, this seems to require mistrial and dismissal of this entire case, with prejudice,” Pezolla concluded. “At a bare minimum, these new revelations require that all evidence relating to this document be stricken from the record and that the jury be given a stern instruction.”
The sedition trial was set to resume Monday. Presiding U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly has yet to issue a ruling on Pezzola’s motion.
Pezzola faces a seditious conspiracy charge, as do fellow Proud Boys Zachary Rehl, Enrique Tarrio, Ethan Nordean and Joseph Biggs.
Ken Silva is a staff writer at Headline USA. Follow him at twitter.com/jd_cashless.