Chief of North Carolina chapter of Proud Boys pleads guilty to conspiracy and assault charges on Jan. 6 Capitol Breach | USAO-DC

WASHINGTON — A leader of the Proud Boys today pleaded guilty to felony charges for his actions before and during the breach of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. His actions and those of others disrupted a convened joint session of the U.S. Congress to verify and count electoral votes related to the presidential election.

Charles Donohoe, 34, of Kernersville, North Carolina, pleaded guilty to conspiring to obstruct official process and assaulting, resisting or embarrassing officers. As part of the plea deal, Donohoe has agreed to cooperate with the government’s ongoing investigation.

According to court documents, the Proud Boys describe themselves as a “pro-Western fraternal organization for men who refuse to apologize for creating the modern world, aka Western chauvinists.” Donohoe joined the Proud Boys in 2018 and became president of his local Proud Boy chapter in North Carolina. As of January 6, 2021, he was a fourth-degree member of the Proud Boys, the highest rank within the organization.

In December 2020, according to court documents, Enrique Tarrio, then national president of the Proud Boys, formed a new chapter of the Proud Boys known as the “Ministry of Self-Defense”, which focused on planning and l execution of national rallies. The Department of Self-Defense’s first focus was to plan actions in relation to the rally in Washington, D.C., on January 6, 2021. Donohoe was a leader of this new chapter, which eventually grew to include at least 65 members .

At least as early as January 4, 2021, Donohoe knew that Department of Self-Defense leaders were discussing the possibility of storming the Capitol. Donohoe believed that storming the Capitol would accomplish the group’s goal of preventing the government from proceeding with the transfer of presidential power. Donohoe understood from discussions that the Proud Boys would pursue their goal through the use of force and violence.

On January 6, 2021, Donohoe was among a group of 100 or more Proud Boys who left a rally near the Washington Monument toward the Capitol. Shortly after noon, the group gathered two blocks west of the Capitol, and Donohoe realized that other Proud Boys leaders were looking for an opportunity to storm the Capitol. Around 1 p.m., the group arrived at the Capitol and began breaking through the barriers surrounding the Capitol grounds. While in the west plaza of the Capitol, Donohoe threw two bottles of water at a line of law enforcement officers who were trying to impede the advance of the crowd in the building’s west plaza. of the Capitol. As events continued, Donohoe joined a crowd, including other Proud Boys, in advancing to climb the concrete stairs to the Capitol. The crowd overwhelmed law enforcement officers on the stairs, continued toward the Capitol, and eventually entered the Capitol building after Donohoe’s co-defendant, Dominic Pezzola, smashed a window in the building.

Hours later, Donohoe posted messages to the Department of Self-Defense’s leadership group, celebrating the group’s actions that day.

Donohoe was arrested on March 11, 2021 and has been detained since his arrest. He is among six defendants—including Tarrio and Pezzola—indicted in the District of Columbia on conspiracy and other charges; the others pleaded not guilty. Donohoe faces up to 20 years in prison for conspiracy and up to eight years in prison for assaulting, resisting or obstructing officers. Both charges also carry potential financial penalties. No sentencing date has been set. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering US sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.

The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Counterterrorism Section of the National Security Division of the Department of Justice. Valuable assistance was provided by the US Attorney’s Office for the Western District of North Carolina.

The case is being investigated by FBI field offices in Washington and Charlotte.

In the 15 months since Jan. 6, 2021, nearly 800 people have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including more than 250 people charged with assaulting or obstructing the ‘law application. The investigation is still ongoing.

Anyone with tips can call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or visit

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