Seattle-Area Proud Boy Leader Ethan Nordean's Release Overturned After DOJ Appeal

A Proud Boys leader who allegedly participated in the January 6 insurrection will remain behind bars after the Department of Justice (DOJ) appealed a judge's order to release him.

Ethan Nordean, of Auburn, Washington, is facing four charges related to the violent breach of the Capitol. Hours after Magistrate Judge Brian Tsuchida ordered that Nordean be released pending trial in Seattle on Monday, a U.S. District Court judge in Washington, D.C reversed the decision on appeal, according to The Associated Press.

Tsuchida did not provide any reason for the initial release order. Prosecutors had argued that Nordean should not be set free because he presented a flight risk, while his public defender Corey Endo argued that he posed little risk and highlighted his lack of a prior criminal record. Due to the successful appeal, Nordean will remain in custody while being transported to Washington, D.C., where he is set to appear in court next week.

Prosecutors allege that Nordean, also known as "Rufio Panman," had prepared for the breach of the Capitol days before caught on camera participating in the riot. He was arrested on February 3 and charged with obstructing or impeding an official proceeding, aiding and abetting, knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. If convicted, he could face up to 32 years in prison.

Proud Boy Capitol Insurrection Riot Donald Trump
A member of the Proud Boys participates in a demonstration in Portland, Oregon on September 26, 2020. MARANIE R. STAAB/AFP/Getty

A Sunday court filing in defense of Nordean insisted that he was "egged on by [former President] Donald Trump, other politicians, his legal advocates, and news media" prior to January 6. Several others facing similar charges, including "QAnon Shaman" Jacob Chansley, have also cited Trump as a key factor in their alleged crimes. The former president is expected to face an unprecedented second Senate impeachment this week for allegedly inciting the insurrection.

Two days before the attack, Nordean posted a video to social media captioned "Let them remember the day they decided to make war with us" and had asked for donations of "protective gear" one week earlier. In another video, he bemoaned the "blatant, rampant voter fraud" that he believed was responsible for President Joe Biden's election win before remarking "Democracy is dead? Well, then no peace for you. No democracy, no peace." He warned that "we are coming for them" in a January 5 post.

The criminal complaint against Nordean indicates that he has described himself as the "Sergeant of Arms" for the Seattle division of the Proud Boys. He is one of at least seven Proud Boys members to have been charged in relation to the Capitol breach. Trump told members of the far-right extremist group to "stand back and stand by" while refusing to directly repudiate white supremacists and militia groups during a presidential debate last September.

Newsweek reached out to the DOJ and Endo for comment.