WASHINGTON — Proud Boy Dominic Pezzola regrets being “duped” into the beliefs that propelled him to take part in the Capitol riot and has indicated interest in a plea deal, his lawyer said in a new filing late Thursday.
Pezzola, also known as “Spaz,” faces charges of conspiracy, assaulting or impeding officers, civil disorder, entering a restricted building or grounds and obstruction of an official proceeding. That last charge alone carries a potential 20-year prison sentence.
Since January 6, Pezzola has become one of the more recognizable Capitol riot defendants. He was mentioned by name multiple times by House impeachment managers during the Senate trial of former President Donald Trump as an example of the sort of person Trump had cultivated and then unleashed on the Capitol.
He’s currently being held without bond after a federal judge determined he posed a potential danger to the community.
But in a new filing, Pezzola’s lawyer, Jonathan Zucker, says his client’s participation in the Capitol riot was an “aberration in an otherwise exemplary life.” He says Pezzola served in the military and has supported his family and a number of employees, who are now out of work due to his incarceration, with his small business.
“Since his arrest, having time to reflect and see how things have revealed themselves, he now realizes he was duped into this mistaken beliefs,” Zucker wrote. “As a result of his actions, he has left his wife, children and employees in a precarious and likely disastrous position. He is consumed with guilt for having done so… Pezzola is the sole source of financial support for the family which consists of his wife and two children. His inability to support the family while incarcerated has placed them all in desperate financial straits. Pezzola regrets his decision to participate in the events of January 6. He disavows and seeks to sever any relationship and involvement in future activities of the Proud Boys or any similar groups.”
In a footnote in the filing, Zucker also says Pezzola seeks to make amends, and that he has indicated his desire to begin discussions of a plea deal and acceptance of responsibility for his actions.
Zucker also says he believes a cooperating witness in the case against Pezzola is himself a Proud Boy who has flipped and is now making allegations against others “in order to avoid his detention what is actually his greater involvement” in the Capitol riot and an alleged plan to return to D.C. on January 20.
“Although the defense cannot be certain it is believed the ‘cooperating witness’ (CW) who has made these claims is actually someone who was a much more active participant in the ‘Proud Boys’ than Pezzola, having been with the organization for a much longer time than Pezzola’s alleged association and much more active,” Zucker said.
Zucker previously asked a judge to release Pezzola to the custody of his wife, who is a social worker. In his filing Thursday, Zucker said if that’s not acceptable he asks for Pezzola to be placed on a high-supervision work release program.
“He simply wishes to be released under reasonable conditions so he can return to work, support his family and return to being a law-abiding citizen. He recognizes that he will at some point have to suffer some punishment for his actions, notwithstanding that they were undertaken with honorable but misguided intentions.”
The Justice Department has not yet responded to Zucker’s motion. Pezzola’s next scheduled hearing is set for March 26 at 11 a.m.
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