Ethan Nordean, a self-described “Sergeant of Arms” in the extremist group the Proud Boys, will remain in custody for his alleged role in the U.S. Capitol riot until his trial hearing later this month.
A Seattle magistrate judge on Monday ruled that Nordean, who also goes by Rufio Panman, would be released on bond but then halted the decision, giving the Department of Justice time to appeal. Hours later, U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell in Washington, D.C., ordered Nordean’s return to the capital pending the appeal.
The 30-year-old will be transported for a hearing on Feb. 15.
Nordean was arrested last week after being charged with impeding an official government proceeding, aiding and abetting, knowingly entering restricted grounds, and violent entry. He has not entered pleas to the charges.
Prosecutors say Nordean was seen marching at the front of a group of Proud Boys shortly before the riot began and that he was among those who stormed into the Capitol “by means of destruction of Federal property.” Additionally, he was “near the front of the crowd of rioters, who collectively approached, confronted, and vastly outnumbered Capitol Police.”
But even before the violence on Jan. 6, Nordean, who has gained a large online right-wing following, posted a series of messages on social media indicating he planned to engage in conflict the day of the protests. Prosecutors note that around Dec. 27, 2020, Nordean posted a message asking for donations of “protective gear” and “communications equipment.” Then, a couple of days before the riots, on Jan. 4, he posted a video on social media, which he captioned, “Let them remember the day they decided to make war with us.”
In asking for Nordean to remain in custody, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jehiel Baer argued the unemployed man is a flight risk with no financial obligations binding him to his life in Washington state or the United States.
NPR member station KUOW reported:
“Baer said when police searched Nordean’s home they found two passports on his dresser – one for his wife and the other for another man. Nordean’s lawyer, Corey Endo, countered that the other passport belongs to Nordean’s wife’s ex-partner from three years ago.”
More than 100 people have been charged so far for breaching the Capitol last month.