Nicholas Ochs, who founded the Hawaii chapter of the far-right extremist group Proud Boys, pleaded guilty to a felony charge Friday in federal court for his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection in Washington D.C.
After attending the “Stop The Steal” rally featuring then-president Donald Trump, Ochs, 36, marched to the U.S. Capitol, threw smoke bombs at police and illegally entered the seat of Congress as it was certifying President Joe Biden’s election win, according to a statement of offenses.
He was joined by Nicholas DeCarlo, 32, of Fort Worth, Texas. Their sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 9. Both men face up to 20 years in prison, as well as potential financial penalties, for obstruction of an official proceeding.
Ochs’ lawyer Edward MacMahon said after the hearing that his client did not injure anyone at the Capitol and he hopes Ochs is sentenced consistent with others who did not participate in any violence, according to The Associated Press.
Ochs traveled from Honolulu to Washington, D.C. for Trump’s rally, during which Trump urged supporters to “fight like hell” or we’re “not going to have a country anymore.”
On the way to the Capitol, Ochs claimed the election was being stolen and that the men were “going to stop it.” The men smoked cigarettes and recorded themselves walking through the building for nearly 40 minutes, the Department of Justice said.
In that time, Ochs took and posted a photo of himself with the caption “Hello from the Capital lol.” He also recorded DeCarlo writing “Murder the media” on a Capitol door, a reference to their social media channel.
As they left, Ochs recorded himself saying: “sorry we couldn’t go live when we stormed the f—-in’ U.S. Capitol and made Congress flee.”
Ochs was arrested the following day in Honolulu. DeCarlo was apprehended later that month in Texas. DeCarlo also pleaded guilty on Friday.
The Proud Boys is an organization of self-described “Western Chauvinists” who have promoted white nationalism, misogyny and Islamaphobia.
The group was instrumental in the storming of the Capitol, law enforcement and congressional investigators have found, and more than 40 of its members have been criminally charged, including for seditious conspiracy. Ochs met with other Proud Boys inside the Capitol on the day of the insurrection.
The case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia with assistance from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Hawaii and the FBI’s Honolulu Field Office, among other law enforcement entities.
In the 20 months since the breach of the Capitol, more the 970 individuals have been arrested in almost every state for crimes related to the insurrection, including more than 265 people charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement, according to the DOJ.
“The investigation remains ongoing,” the agency said.