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Proud Boys’ Free-Speech Capitol Riot Defense Fails in Court

  • Judge rejected comparison to flag-burning or sit-in protests
  • Four members of the group sought dismissal of conspiracy case
Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as people storm the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as people storm the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

Photographer: Brent Stirton/Getty Images
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The First Amendment right to free speech doesn’t protect four leaders of the right-wing Proud Boys group from criminal charges over their participation in the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot, a federal judge ruled.

The men were properly charged with conduct that isn’t protected by the Constitution, including trespassing, destruction of property and interference with law enforcement -- all with the intention of obstructing Congress, U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly in Washington ruled Tuesday.