Proud Boys documentarian to be among first Jan. 6 witnesses

AP Photo/John Minchillo, File
Violent insurrectionists loyal to President Donald Trump storm the Capitol, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington

WASHINGTON (AP) — A documentary filmmaker who recorded members of the far-right Proud Boys extremist group as they stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, says he will testify during the first hearing of the House panel investigating the insurrection.

Nick Quested, a British filmmaker who also witnessed some of the group’s planning before the attack on the Capitol, confirmed to The Associated Press that he will be among the witnesses in Thursday night’s prime-time hearing. The panel has not yet announced a full list of those who will testify.

Quested was a witness to some of the most extraordinary events that took place that day, accompanying members of the extremist group as they walked to the Capitol from President Donald Trump’s speech in front of the White House, as they broke through police barriers and eventually into the building, and as hundreds of Trump’s supporters moved through the Capitol to protest his defeat.

Quested was also with the man then leading the group, Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, the night before when Tarrio met in an underground Washington garage with Elmer “Stewart” Rhodes, the founder and leader of the Oath Keepers, another extremist group present at the riot.

Tarrio and other members of the group were charged on Monday with seditious conspiracy for what federal prosecutors say was a coordinated attack on the Capitol to stop Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s 2020 electoral victory. Rhodes was indicted on similar charges earlier this year.

Quested says he was interviewed by the Justice Department as it prosecuted hundreds of cases related to the insurrection. He says he was filming the group as part of a documentary about extremism in America.

Quested is expected to describe his experiences and potentially what he witnessed behind closed doors, as the Jan. 6 panel begins a month of hearings to explain to the American public what happened that day and how it occurred. The committee has conducted more than 1,000 interviews since last summer as it has attempted to create the most comprehensive record yet of the insurrection.

Thursday’s hearing is expected to be an overview of the committee’s findings, with other hearings in the coming weeks diving into more specifics of the planning behind the attack. The panel has been especially focused not only on the extremist groups that were among the rioters but also on what Trump was doing at the White House while the violence unfolded.

Federal authorities have linked more than three dozen people charged in the Capitol siege to the Proud Boys. Its members describe it as a politically incorrect men’s club for “Western chauvinists.”

Quested’s intention to testify was first reported by The New York Times.