Proud Boys prosecutors reject claims of misconduct after discovering internal FBI messages
Prosecutors in the trial of The Proud Boys hit out at the defense attorneys on Sunday. The defense lawyers accused the government of misconduct after they found several thousand messages which were sent to an FBI agent who was dealing with the case.
The agent in question, Nicole Miller, gave testimony last week in regard to The Proud Boys involvement at the Capitol on January 6th. Miller outlined the movements of the group both in the build up to them entering the Capitol and their movements inside The Capitol.
After Miller’s testimony, prosecutors presented their evidence back to the defense team, Miller’s internal FBI chat messages about the case, which consisted of 25 messages.
As the defense analyzed the messages, they found thousands of additional messages which had been sent in error. The messages from Miller and several other agents had been left in the spreadsheet in error as “hidden” rows. Prosecutors said that Miller had attempted to filter them out.
The defense team alleged that the filtered messages included some questionable exchanges which appeared to be relevant to the seditious conspiracy case against The Proud Boys.
In one conversation, Miller and another agent started discussing defendant Zahary Reh’s intention to take the case to trial. This was allegedly after studying messages between Rehl and his attorney. The defense team said that their initial thoughts are this is the breach of attorney-client privilege.
The defense team said another exchange between agents suggested destroying 338 pieces of evidence due to the strength of The Proud Boys’ conspiracy case.
Defense attorneys said they should be allowed to cross-examine Miller about each of these exchanges when the trial resumes again next week.
Prosecutors objected stated later on that their belief is there had been a “spill” of classified information in the messages. The defense team said this was simply a ploy to shut down their review.
U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Kelly suspended the trial for one day on Friday to give the Justice Department and the defense a chance to remedy the situation between them.
“As the Court knows, disposal of evidence is a routine part of the lifecycle of every criminal case,” the prosecutors wrote.
Prosecutors also dismissed the notion that Miller and other FBI agents had access to sensitive information.
“She did no such thing,” they stated, “both because any privilege was waived and, in any event, even assuming … that the email to which the other agent was referring contained privileged information, no privileged information was passed to Special Agent Miller.”
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