First Proud Boys member to plead guilty to seditious conspiracy in Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol attack

WASHINGTON (AP) — A North Carolina man pleaded guilty Thursday to plotting with other members of the far-right Proud Boys to violently stop the transfer of presidential power after the 2020 election, making him the first member of the extremist group to plead guilty to a seditious conspiracy charge.

Jeremy Joseph Bertino, 43, has agreed to cooperate with the Justice Department’s investigation of the role that Proud Boys leaders played in the mob’s attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, a federal prosecutor said. U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly agreed to release Bertino pending a sentencing hearing that wasn’t immediately scheduled.

Bertino also pleaded guilty to a charge of unlawfully possessing firearms in March 2022 in Belmont, North Carolina. Kelly accepted his guilty plea to both charges during a brief hearing after the case against Bertino was filed Thursday.

Justice Department prosecutor Erik Kenerson said estimated sentencing guidelines for Bertino’s case recommend a prison sentence ranging from four years and three months to five years and three months. The Civil War-era seditious conspiracy charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

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