What Proud Boys Defendant Enrique Tarrio Really Said in Jailhouse Interview While Awaiting Verdict

AP Photo/Allison Dinner, File

Following the conclusion of closing arguments in the Proud Boys January 6 trial on Tuesday, defendant and former Proud Boys Chairman Enrique Tarrio made a guest appearance on Twitter spaces hosted by The Gateway Pundit and co-hosted by journalists Cara Castronouva and Katie O’Malley. The audio was choppy and Tarrio expressed that he was calling from under his bed in his small jail cell, in an attempt to cut down on echoes.


(Author’s Note: I’ve transcribed much of this interview for our readers, but do not represent that it’s a full transcript.)

Tarrio took questions from journalists, saying that he doesn’t find any question to be offensive, but that some questions he wouldn’t be able to answer. Tarrio declined to give answers on several topics, including Metropolitan Police Department Lt. Shane Lamond, a controversial figure in the trial, the COVID procedures in the courtroom, and his legal defense strategy.

Tarrio began by expressing that his co-defendants were doing well, saying:

The guys are in a good place.

On Not Taking the Stand:

We wanted to talk about January 6, that’s what we wanted to talk about. But what was happening is on these cross-examinations, they were bringing things from years past. Anything that I said, you know, ranging from 2015, 2016, 2017, is fair game and it has nothing to do with January 6. So, we were afraid that they were just going to use statements, old statements, and just try to muddy up the waters when at the end of the day, what we are trying to do is get to the bottom of what happened on January 6.

And you heard that multiple times in this courtroom, and multiple courtrooms, we’ve heard it from the January 6 Committee, the “unselect committee,” everybody is trying to get down to what went on on January 6. Okay but, what’s happening in some of these cases is we aren’t talking about January 6 anymore, we’re talking about statements that people made in the past, conversations, associations. We saw that multiple times in this case, we’ve seen it in other cases and again, it’s not that… It’s not anything…it’s just a simple disagreement with how the court has ruled. And, we respect the court for ruling in that way, but it is very difficult to try to fight a case that’s about January 6 and they are bringing in evidence from almost six, seven years ago.

We can talk about things in general, me, myself, in general, some of the guys in general, I guess the Proud Boys in general. You know, actually, you know what? It’s not just Proud Boys, it’s Americans in general. We said a lot of things, especially in our club, we said a lot of things. I don’t care if you’re a minority, I don’t care if you’re missing a leg, I don’t care… Eddie Block, for example, Eddie Blocks on a scooter and you know, he rips on me, I rip on him and it’s simple fun. I’m gonna make fun of you no matter what it is. And what they were trying to do, what people were trying to… again I’m speaking in general… is manipulate how we talk to each other in the locker room and it’s not fair, it really isn’t. We’re proud of it, we aren’t shying away from it but the problem is, it’s being used… and now I’m going to talk about court in general, these trials in general not mine specifically… but it’s being used against other people and it’s just not right. It’s not the justice system that we grew up in civics class learning about.

On Jail Conditions:

Okay, so now I can definitely talk about it without a problem because I have nothing to do with you know… court. We are currently in Alexandria Detention Center, all of us in our trial are locked in twenty-three hours a day. Very tiny cell. We only get out for an hour, and in that hour we have to cook, we have to shower, we gotta make our phone calls. Alexandria does have the benefit of having a tablet where we can make our phone calls from, which is where you are hearing me from now. And, I will tell you that the deputies here that work at the Sheriff’s office, at the actual sheriff’s office are a little better than in other places.

But the problem isn’t if the deputies are good or not, the problem is that we’re are locked in twenty-three hours a day, not because we do anything, not because we are violent, not because we are assaulted, I get along with everybody. The problem is because of who we are. And we’re always told that it’s “oh, for your own protection.” Listen we’ve been in general population in some instances and we’ve never had a single issue. But, it’s really meant to break our spirits. I will tell you that. It’s meant to break our spirits. Again, we’re a happy bunch, all five of us are a happy bunch, we’ve stayed positive through this whole thing.

On What He Misses:

Are there things I miss about the outside world? Of course, of course. And it angers us… I guess, and I’m gonna speak for the five of us… it angers us more than usual because we know that we are innocent. If it was any other circumstance, if we were guilty of our crimes, then we’d have an easier time in here because you can accept that you did something wrong. And, you’d accept that you have to do time for it.

You know, we’re not lawless, we believe that there should be a justice system, but the fact that we ‘re here not because of the actions that we’ve taken but the words that we’ve spoken, it eats at us every day. But again, we’re very positive. We believe that even though it’s a DC jury, we believe that this jury is going to be very fair. We await their… deliberations technically start tomorrow. We await the verdict with open arms. And you know what? If the worst happens… you know what we’re standing on principle and we haven’t given up on each other and we’re not gonna give up on each other, ever.

Enrique Tarrio, right, at a rally in Beverly Hills, CA, Octoober 31, 2020. CREDIT: Brittany Sheehan/used with permission

On Informants in the Case:

I’m very limited on what I can speak about that, for obvious reasons. The only thing that I can tell you, you know, especially for those that have been keeping up with our trial the government has stipulated that there were 8 CHSs (Confidential Human Sources) that were there or that were in our communications channel between, I believe the month of November through January. That’s the most I could tell you about this case.

I could speak to the FBI generally. I will tell you from a little bit of experience in the past, you know, the FBI is tasked with one thing. Now, regardless if we think they’re abusing that power or not, maybe we can get into that a little bit later, but generally, the FBI has an investigative purpose within our government. I will tell you that the FBI investigates all groups, and they will use human sources in every single group. Now the amount of human sources that they used?

I mean we’ve seen with the case of Governor Whitmer in Michigan, we’ve seen how the FBI plays out in that case. We’ve seen in multiple other cases how they use CHSs. I can tell you that we have confirmed and stipulated with the government that there was at least, at the very least eight CHSs. I think you guys, The Gateway Pundit, have written extensively about motions filed by Mr. Roger Roots, the attorney for Dominic Pezzola in this case and I’m sure you guys have seen some of his motions. Very interesting stuff, the judge has declined those motions. Again, I respectfully disagree with the judge on some of those issues. Here’s my final word on that: If you are running a group that is somewhat effective, at least somewhat effective, I guarantee you that there are CHSs within your group.

On Congressional Oversight:

We have limited information while we’re in here. We don’t have access to on-the-spot news articles, or whatever it takes to do some research. But I believe the investigation on the weaponization in the House Committee, and correct me if I’m wrong here, is Jim Jordan? I applaud that. I don’t know what their progress is. I would suggest that Jim Jordan subpoena some of these J6 defendants, to see how it is.

I’m of the opinion that the DOJ has been weaponized when it comes to some of these January 6 cases. Again, I’m not speaking to mine specifically, but it has been weaponized to a lot of these January 6 cases. I’m gonna be dead honest; if you walked in the building, I agree you maybe should get hit with trespassing. If you assaulted a police officer, fine, get hit with assault on a police officer. If you broke something, if you stole something, get charged that way. But that’s not what we’re seeing here in a lot of these cases.

What we’re seeing here with a lot of these cases is they’re overcharging these cases, you know? They want to give multiple years, decades in some of these cases. I’ll tell you, in the Oath Keepers case – I pray for them every day. In the Oath Keepers case, I didn’t know what they were gonna sentence them to, you know?

But, Jim Jordan needs to start subpoenaing victims of that weaponization. Not just the people doing it, but the victims of such a weaponization. We’re seeing it across the country, we’re seeing it with former President Donald Trump. We’re also seeing it with, with – unfortunately, we’re seeing it… it might not be the DOJ.. but we’re seeing it with Tucker Carlson. We’re seeing it with the legacy media to Fox News, even though I hold no sympathy to Fox News at this moment, at this very moment. But, We’re seeing it, we’re seeing it happen.

Alex Jones, what happened to Alex Jones – you know, I don’t want to exaggerate but this is sounding very 1934-ish to me.

On the “1776 Returns” Document:

I have absolutely no information other than what you guys have heard in the courtroom. I can tell you with all my sincerity that I’ve never opened or seen that document. I don’t know where its origin is from, but I have never opened that document or seen that document in my life.

On What Bothers Him:

Let me tell you, I don’t say that to make anybody feel bad or anything. Again, we’re very strong here, we’re very united. And If I could do this whole thing over just to prove a point, then I’ll do it again because we did nothing wrong. The Proud Boys did nothing wrong.

But if you’re asking me my personal opinion on what bothers me the most, it’s just being outside. It’s so simple. People miss a lot of different things, from food, or whatnot. Just like little things that bother me, is being outside. But the number one, the number one thing that bothers me from being in here is me not being able to spend time with my family. That’s probably the number one issue that I have. And probably something that… I will tell you… that gets to me a little weak sometimes and it does, it does foment some anger in me. You know, I’m very thankful to have such an amazing family that sits there every day, though trial, through this whole thing, flies almost every week or every other week from Miami, takes time from work. You know, I’ve got a beautiful mother, a beautiful woman that sits there every day. And you know I can’t be luckier to have them and the rest of my family on my side.

Before I went in I did a podcast with Norm Pattis. Just in case you guys didn’t know, Norm has a very good podcast, a very good audio podcast. And I had the pleasure of being one of his guests on his podcasts and he asked me about what is important to me. And I told him that those priorities have changed. It’s always been God, Family, and country, were things that were important to me. But since my incarceration in DC, not my incarceration for January 6, for the banner-burning, those priorities have definitely changed. And that list of priorities goes God, family, and tribe. For me, it’s no longer about country. It’s not about a piece of property, it’s about people, and people that are next to us, people that have helped us, people that love us, people hanging out with us.

And I think that your viewers and the people listening to this right now, you guys gotta really understand how good you have it. You know look at the family you have around you, the people you have around you, that’s the most important thing you will ever have in your life. Never take it for granted, because I’ll be honest, I sure did. I sure did. And right now I’m wishing that I didn’t.

One of the reasons that bothers me – and the term I use is that it takes the oxygen out of your lungs. We’re not allowed to go outside. I have not seen, my skin, has not seen the sun and my skin has never been in direct contact, okay, for the past – I think it’s 13 months. We’re going on the 14th month. And that’s just me. I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining, because some of the guys have been here for over two years. But, just the sun has never hit my direct skin in the past 13 months. And I’ll be honest with you, everybody used to call me very – say that I was very, very very dark. I am very white right now. You know, I’m so white that I might start liking mayonnaise.

On Being a High-Profile Inmate:

I find humor in everything, I think. I think it’s actually pretty funny because here in this state they have the Lockerbie bomber. I don’t know if you guys have heard that the Lockerbie bomber came into the custody of the United States back in December. And they have the Lockerbie bomber here, and he killed a whole bunch of people – he downed an entire plane – and they don’t have him on the security level that they have me. Okay? They literally have to clear the entire floor,. That could be visits with my family, by myself. Okay? There’s nobody. Nobody can be around me. I walk the halls, it looks like a ghost town with me and just one other deputy. And I’m in the highest level of security that anybody can be in in this jail. And that’s… that’s in every jail that I go to. And they have the Lockerbie bomber in here, and this guy’s in general population just hanging out. But, little ol’ me that has never assaulted anybody has never even threatened to assault anybody, they got me on like this super-max lockdown.

On People Being Afraid to Protest:

Yeah, I’ll be honest…if I was people… you know, I’m realistic. I try to be as realistic as possible. If I was people out there, if I was you guys, I’d be afraid. I would be afraid, because if you go out there… and maybe based on the decision of what happens in this trial, the very trial that I’m in… and you go out there and say the wrong thing, you might go to jail. Now, can I tell you is that the reason to stay home? Probably not. I think we have to be smarter.

But I think another thing is – and I’m not saying the people listening in here. I think the people listening in here are very informed if they are subscribed to the Gateway Pundit. But, to tell you – I think some have been mistaken on what the problem in this country is, and we’ve tried to legislate away our problems. For many years, the Republican Party has tried to legislate away our problems.

The Democrats have done an incredible job… you know, you give them the benefit of the doubt, if you give them something, the truth actually, they did an incredible job. I mean, they’re weaponizing the justice system. If they can’t come after you with the Department of Justice, they’re gonna come after you civilly. They were winning the culture war for a long time, I mean, I think we got a leg up on that now.

But the problems in society that we have today, the cultural problems, it’s not a problem of how we can vote the right people in. It’s within us to change it, because again, it’s culture, and you have to change the culture. And the way that we change the culture is the arts, you know, creating novel organizing, grassroots organizing. And I’m starting to sound like a little bit of a liberal here, but I’m being honest in how some of these groups organize. You know, we could do the same thing, but for our causes, for the things that we feel are right.

They’ve done a good job. I’ll be honest; they’ve done a good job in music, in Hollywood, I mean, we need to start making documentaries. We need to start doing podcasts. If you’re any good on microphone, get yourself a camera, get yourself a mic, and talk to anybody willing to listen. We need to change the minds of people, right? The key to our success is replicating ourselves. If we replicate ourselves in these just months… we can win.

On Silencing Political Dissent:

I’m the next stepping stone, you know, if they are able to close this case, if they are able to get a conviction. I hope this jury sees through clearly what’s going on and I hope this jury renders a fair verdict because the only fair verdict in this trial is a verdict of not guilty on all counts. If the guys were hit with trespassing, they would probably take it.

They’re trying to manipulate the 2024 election, and that’s what it boils down to. I wish the country was headed in another direction and I wish I could sit here and tell you how to fix it, but I can’t. Plus, I’m a little preoccupied trying to get some freedom and sun.

On What Surprised Him in the Trial:

I think the thing that surprised me the most is just how the system actually works. I think a lot of Americans don’t know how court proceedings work, and I’ll be honest with you, I was one of those people. We were raised on the show Law and Order. We don’t know how the rules of evidence work. It’s a learn-as-you-go experience for me.

I ran for Congress in 2020 and my main goal was criminal justice reform. I didn’t know a lot about criminal justice reform, and I’ll be honest with you, I know a lot more. I thought maybe we would be able to argue some of these points, things that we believe are true. We haven’t been able to argue those points. I’m happy the judge sided with Pezzola on his motion for an instruction for self-defense. I thought that was pretty good. But again, the only thing that is surprising is how the system works.

It also surprised me that the government was able to do a rebuttal on a closing statement. And also surprising on, you know, how I thought it was a little bit more equal. And mainly I see what some that I used to disagree with, I think I see what some of them are talking about our system being broken and how to fix it. Maybe I can come out and have that conversation with somebody I disagree with politically and I mean we can come together on what’s wrong with our system, our justice system.

On Co-defendant Dominic Pezzola:

I believe the characterization of falling on his sword is a little bit incorrect. I think he was just being honest with what he experienced. I can’t speak to what he thought or anything but, you know, I don’t believe he was falling on his sword. I think he went up there, he was honest, he was very clear, you know? I think he was up there and he was honest… and everything he said is true. And I believe that the jury saw that, and I’m hoping that the jury saw that. And again, it’s up to them. It’s up to them to see what the truth is, what the facts are, what facts they accept.

The only thing I can say about Dominic is he’s a person that… I said this a couple of times. I don’t know how the balls fit between his legs. He was very honest, he was very blunt, and we’ll see. We’ll see how the end plays out.

As we’ve seen, and I’m gonna speak generally here, as we’ve seen with a lot of cases, January 6 cases, you know a lot of people lie to get out of their mix. My point is Dominic could have easily just lied, you know, and he could have been home. He could have been home with his wife and his mother, his kids. He could have been in his warm bed, and all he had to do is lie. And, he didn’t. He decided that he wanted to tell the truth and he decided what was right and what was wrong. He’s rare. I met Dominic in December, and he’s a grade-A dude. Again, I think this jury’s gonna see it. I think the jury is going to see what the issues are with this case. Because this case is gonna have its root, if it isn’t done the right way it’s going to have ramifications, not for us, but for the American people of the whole.

Enrique Tarrio, right, at a rally in Beverly Hills, CA, October 31, 2020. CREDIT: Enrique Tarrio/used with permission

On Litigation Expenses and Family:

Well, I can tell you two things. Litigation is extremely expensive on this case. I would love the jury to come back with a fair verdict, and again, that fair verdict is not guilty. But in the case that we get a hung jury, its going to be very, very difficult, and by no means am I going to ask anybody for a single dime for my legal fund or anything else. But I will tell you that it’s very expensive. It’s going to be very difficult for me to come up with money just in case I have a mistrial.

As far as how my family is enduring through this, you know, I love saying it: My family is my rock, and I know it’s tough for them but also they are a bunch of troopers. I hope they know that if they were in the same position I’d do it for them. So, I’m putting my priorities first, and again that’s my God, my family, and I think that’s my number one priority when I get out of here.

Will I stay in the political realm? I don’t know. I don’t think so. There are a lot of things that I’m honestly tapped out on. I think if I were to get into something I would get into some type of cultural thing to try to reach out to different people. But as far as the political realm goes, I don’t know if it’s for me anymore.

On COVID Mandate in Courtroom:

Tarrio declined to comment on courtroom policies.

To me, the most important thing that is happening in that courtroom is the freedom of my friends, and people that I feel like that haven’t done anything wrong. We haven’t done anything wrong and that’s where my focus is. My number one focus again, I put those priorities in line, is my God, my family, my tribe and my brothers that are sitting right next to me in that courtroom are my priority. After the trial, I can give you my opinion on those things that are happening around me. Again my focus right now is just… get home. That’s it.
The first thing that you guys can do for us is you can pray. Pray without ceasing this entire week and pray that this jury sees the truth. And that the jury renders a fair verdict. I’m not even asking for a favorable verdict, I’m asking for a fair verdict, which I think would be favorable.
Another thing that they could do is send messages to the guys.

On Financial Support:

When asked about financial support, Tarrio gave websites for his co-defendants.

You can go to freejoebiggs.com, freeZach.com. I believe it’s Z-A-C-H. I don’t know exactly how those websites, – exactly the URLs to those websites. I think you can Give Send Go and search for the guy’s name. Dominic has one there, other guys have one. I would highly suggest Give Send Go. You know, five bucks is five bucks, ten bucks is ten bucks. I’ve heard that Netflix has gotten a lot more expensive since we’ve been out so, if you spend ten, twelve dollars on Netflix, which you shouldn’t, at least give the guys ten, twelve bucks. That can help with their legal fees because they still have legal fees. Some of these guys are gonna end up owing their attorneys a lot of money and with good reason because these attorneys have fought tooth and nail during this trial.

On Faith:

Tarrio initially heard the question as, “wearing on your face” instead of “wearing on your faith.”

Um, how I’m wearing it on my face? I think the best way that I could wear it on my face is the most honest face that I have and that’s a smile from ear to ear. I will tell you that no matter what that verdict is, I’m going to be smiling from ear to ear.

The question was clarified as “faith in God.”

Oh… my faith in… I’m like, I’m going to smile! I’m going to be honest with you, it hasn’t changed my faith at all. You know, I’ve always been… has it brought me closer? Yes, of course. I have a lot more time to myself. And for a little while there the only book I had was the Bible. I know Cara said that my mom was on there… and we’ve been reading Psalm 91 over and over again, every night before we go to sleep, until the verdict comes in.

Actually, you know what? I’d like the listeners that are people of faith and believe in God, I think you guys should – for the next couple nights until we get the verdict, if you guys want to read Psalm 91 with us every night until we go to bed, I think I would rather enjoy that.

View of the Criminal Justice System:

This has changed my mind in looking at it, and I’ve looked at it from the inside before. You know, I’m not a perfect person but – I’ve made mistakes in my youth and my adult life, to be honest with you. For Christ’s sake, I burned a banner in the middle of the street, you know? Almost got the death penalty for it, but, you know, the judge was nice enough to give me the max sentence on it. But that’s for another time.

But, yeah it has changed my view on everything and not just…obviously, it’s a weaponization when it comes to free speech but, it’s across the board. It’s not just free speech, it’s across the board. The justice system and the jail system has to change.

One thing that I’ll ask, whoever the next incoming President is… and I will tell you I hope it’s Donald Trump…I’d like a spot as the OIG at the Department of Justice. That’s actually one of the spots that I would love to have. I would love nothing more than to work for the Inspector General’s office for the DOJ.

On Changed Views:

If it wasn’t for my family suffering, I wouldn’t change it for the world. This has taught me a lot. It’s taught me a lot about myself, number one. It’s taught me… I’ll tell you what, my views on the world have shifted. And it hasn’t shifted in a way that you’d think, where it like shifts completely in one direction.

My views on the world have shifted like a Rubix cube. Where I thought the Rubix cube was perfect when all the colored sides were exactly running where they were supposed to be, my Rubix cube right now has all sorts of colors on each one of its faces. I’ve gotten to read a lot, which I really appreciate. I’ve gotten to read a lot the works from our forefathers. I’ve gotten to read a lot of John Locke, I’ve gotten to read Thomas Paine, Montesquieu, a lot of these great writers of the past that has given me insight into the world and what people were thinking, and how the world works.

You know, I thought I had different views on what people that I thought one day I disagreed with, but now I’m coming to terms with that I agree with terms more than what I think. And I think there is… the words I use is ‘unity without compromise.’ You never could compromise your views, but we do need unity. …This issue in this country, what’s going on now… I mean you’re watching… not to get it into the political realm right now, but… you’re watching this unfold before your eyes.

You know, in 2002, when I first started getting into worldview, I was against the war in Iraq. And we’re seeing it right now with Ukraine, and we’re seeing political lines shift. We’re seeing South American siding with China. We’re [inaudible] with things we shouldn’t be involved with. We’re seeing this dramatic shift in geopolitics and I think it’s important for us, that this country be more united than ever. There are more forces of evil than you think. It might not be… the devil is in disguise, and some of us, even as awake as we are, we’re not seeing the bigger picture. We need to wake up a little more. So, I suggest – it goes back to one of the questions. We have to start fighting the culture war. We have to get involved. …I think all of us should read a little bit more.

In here – you know when you’re out there, you tend to forget that the world is an ugly place… because we’re surrounded with… we can get coffee.. walk around the street. Actually, you know what? We don’t even have to leave our house to live anymore. We have people bring stuff to us. We have Uber, we don’t even need a driver. We look like machines right now and it’s actually making us very, very lazy and very, very complacent. I think that we need to start looking at things, cuz when we’re in here… the most simplest things… ketchup! Ketchup, right? They have these third-party ketchup packets that they give us. And the other day they gave us Heinz ketchup and I lit up like a Christmas tree. Like they just gave me the biggest gift in the world, so I appreciate those little things. And sometimes we take things for granted that are right in front of us. And I think we need to appreciate those things that are close to us, and number one is our God and our family.


The jury begins deliberations on Wednesday for the five defendants charged in a ten-count indictment, including the charge of seditious conspiracy, which holds a maximum penalty of 20 years of incarceration.

(Editor’s note: the author is acquainted with multiple people named in this article.)


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