The FBI raided the home of the vice president of the Proud Boys’ Philadelphia chapter late last week, seizing his computer, phone and other electronics to gather information on the attempted coup d’état at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
Aaron Wolkind, 37, woke up around 4 a.m. Friday to find more than a dozen federal agents, dressed in riot gear and accompanied by an armored vehicle and battering ram, swarming his residence in Newark, Delaware.
The federal agents ordered him to come out with his hands in the air through a loudspeaker. Upon his exit from the residence, Wolkind was handcuffed but not arrested or charged.
Wolkind’s lawyer Jonathon Moseley said he believes the raid was part of the FBI’s efforts to build a case against Proud Boys president Zach Rehl, who was arrested in March on charges related to the attempted coup d’état, which was intended to interrupt Congress as it was tabulating the electoral college votes so that President Donald Trump could remain in power after losing the election to Democrat Joe Biden.
Moseley also represents Rehl, the president of the Philadelphia Proud Boys chapter. Rehl was arrested in March on charges he conspired with other leading members of the organization to attack the Capitol and has been in custody in Philadelphia pending trial since.
FBI agents then “took all of his computer and computer devices and phones, including an old broken phone,” Moseley said.
Zach Rehl, the self-described president of the Philadelphia Proud Boys, who is another client of Moseley, is being held in Philadelphia for his role in the Capital Riot on Jan. 6.
The government asked judges to keep Rehl in prison because he is a threat to the community and he is not remorseful for his actions on Jan. 6. “To the contrary, he has celebrated it,” according to a motion filed by prosecutors.
In public messages, he condemned police officers who defended the Capitol by saying, “They deserve to be tarred and feathered. These cops turning on us are also what they call ‘turncoats.’ Just saying,” the detention motion states.
Rehl is a former Marine and the son and grandson of Philadelphia police officers.
Rehl was indicted by a grand jury in March. with co-defendants Ethan Nordean, 30, of Auburn, Washington, president of his local chapter; Joseph Biggs, 37, of Ormond Beach, Florida; and Charles Donohoe, 33, of Kenersville, North Carolina, another local chapter president.
A federal grand jury indicted all four men for conspiracy; obstruction of an official proceeding; obstruction of law enforcement during civil disorder; destruction of federal property; entering and remaining in a restricted building; and disorderly conduct in a restricted building. The grand jury also indicted Proud Boys leaders Ethan Nordean, Joseph Biggs and Charles Donohoe on the same charges.
Known for Islamophobic and misogynistic rhetoric, the Proud Boys are considered a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors extremist organizations.
Wednesday, Oct. 6, marked nine months since the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol that disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress in the process of affirming the presidential election results.
The Architect of the Capitol estimated that the attack caused about $1.5 million worth of damage to the U.S. Capitol building.
Under the continued leadership of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the FBI’s Washington Field Office, the investigation and prosecution of those responsible for the attack continues to move forward at an unprecedented speed and scale.
The Department of Justice has filed mostly weak charges against those who committed crimes on Jan. 6 and it has not moved to hold Trump accountable for inciting the riot or conspiring to overthrow the Constitution.
Officials released a snapshot of the investigation as of Wednesday, Oct. 6 should that approximately 650 defendants have been arrested in nearly all 50 states, including those charged in both District and Superior Court.
Only about 40 defendants have been charged with conspiracy, although 140 police officers were assaulted Jan. 6 at the Capitol during the rioting.
At least 190 defendants have been charged with assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers or employees, including more than 60 individuals who have been charged with using a deadly or dangerous weapon or causing serious bodily injury to an officer.
More than 90 individuals have pleaded guilty to a variety of federal charges, from misdemeanors to felony obstruction, many of whom will face incarceration at sentencing. More than 80 of those terrorists pleaded guilty to misdemeanors.
Thirteen have pleaded guilty to felonies.
Complete versions of public court documents are available on the Capitol Breach Investigation Resource Page at https://www.justice.gov/usao-dc/capitol-breach-cases.