The past two weeks have seen the toughest sentences yet for top Proud Boys and other paramilitary figures convicted of seditious conspiracy and related felonies for plotting to invade the U.S. Capitol and prevent Congress from ratifying the 2020 presidential election.
The sentences for Enrique Tarrio (22 years in prison), Joe Biggs (17 years) and Ethan Nordean (18 years) close a chapter of extremist politics that regularly touched Portland. As WW reported in 2021, the Capitol insurrection was an event the Proud Boys and other groups trained for with regular, violent incursions into this city, which they viewed as a leftist stronghold.
Meanwhile, another convicted felon bumped into Oregon in a different way.
A federal jury found Brandon Craig Fellows guilty last week of felony obstruction of an official proceeding for his role in the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. The press release from the FBI is an all-timer: “Defendant Illegally Entered Capitol, Smoked a Joint in a Senator’s Office,” it announced Aug. 31.
Prosecutors said Fellows, now 29, scaled the Upper West Terrace and entered the Capitol through a broken window, “wearing a fake beard fashioned of red yarn, a hat in the shape of a knight’s helmet, sunglasses, and carrying a flag and a trash can lid that he held as a shield.”
He then made his way to the offices of U.S. Sen. Jeffrey Merkley (D-Ore.), where he was photographed smoking a joint with his feet up on the senator’s desk.
“I walked in and there’s just a whole bunch of people lighting up in some Oregon room…they were smoking a bunch of weed in there,” he would later tell a reporter. “I have no regrets.”
He was arrested 10 days later in Albany, N.Y. The handyman lived in a converted school bus, according to the FBI, and represented himself at his trial.
Merkley’s office declined to comment, due to a likely appeal.