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Washington man convicted for role in US Capitol attack

Security camera footage from the U.S. Capitol Police appears to show Marc Anthony Bru inside the capitol on Jan. 6 according to an FBI affidavit.
Photo courtesy of U.S. Attorney.
Security camera footage from the U.S. Capitol Police appears to show Marc Anthony Bru inside the capitol on Jan. 6 according to an FBI affidavit.

A Vancouver man and member of the far-right Proud Boys was convicted Tuesday on seven charges stemming from his involvement in the January 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

U.S. District Court Chief Judge James Boasberg found Marc Anthony Bru, 43, guilty of five misdemeanor charges and two felonies, including violent entry and disorderly conduct on capitol grounds, civil disorder, and tampering with a witness, victim or informant.

According to an FBI affidavit released at the time of Bru’s March 2021 arrest, the agency investigated him after receiving an anonymous tip saying Bru had planned to travel to Washington D.C. on Jan. 6 to “witness history in the making.” The affidavit said Bru told the tipster “you are about to see. It’s going to be big.”

The FBI was aided by videos of Bru from the insurrection and his social media posts, which were shared online by antifascist researchers associated with a group called PNW Resistance.

A Department of Justice press release Wednesday said Bru, marching with about 20 other Proud Boys, trampled over downed barricades and angrily confronted police attempting to hold back the throng of protesters and insurrectionists pressing toward the Capitol.

“When police officers tried to use bicycle rack barricades to force the rioters backward, Bru charged the barricades, grabbed one, and used his entire body weight to prevent the police from moving it forward,” federal prosecutors said in the press release. “Bru entered the Capitol through an emergency exit and made his way to the recently evacuated Senate chamber, where he took celebratory pictures in the gallery.”

Seven weeks after the insurrection, Bru was planning more anti-government violence, according to the Justice Department. He sent a message to a person interested in joining the Proud Boys detailing his plans to launch a similar attack on the Oregon State Capitol.

In addition to being involved with the Proud Boys, a group whose members have espoused violent, misogynist and racist views, Bru also describes himself as a sovereign citizen, a group that rejects the legitimacy of the state and federal government. The belief, which frequently brings its adherents into conflict with laws they claim don’t apply to them, is not well received by judges.

In a court filing last week, Bru claimed the Department of Justice did not have the right to sue him and said, “This case is moot fraud void on its face.”

“All previous contracts the Defendant signed was under the threat of a gun to murder Marc Bru, the Defendant or pain compliance via torture such as illegally incarcerating the Defendant, same as being tortured now by the same petitioners,” he said in the filing.

Bru did not mount a defense, except to tell the judge he did not consent to the trial. He told the court that his prosecution was outside its jurisdiction, that the government had “trafficked” him and committed war crimes against him.

After failing to appear for a hearing in June, court documents say Bru sent a message to a “known individual” saying the government tortures, strips rights and murders and that “everyone is ok with letting j6ers go through the motions to be unappreciated martyrs.”

“I’m done entertaining their bullshit. if they want me they will come get me. I’m drawing a fucking line in the sand,” Bru wrote. “I will not submit to a totalitarian belligerent de facto regime.”

Oregon resident Lilith Saer, center with blue hair, is seen inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Saer pleaded guilty to parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a capitol building.
U.S. Department of Justice
Oregon resident Lilith Saer, center with blue hair, is seen inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Saer pleaded guilty to parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a capitol building.

Bru is among at least 9 Oregon and Washington residents charged with crimes for their role in the insurrection, and he’s among at least 20 Proud Boys charged. In September, former Proud Boys national chairman Enrique Tarrio was sentenced to 22 years in prison, and Joe Biggs, another prominent Proud Boy, was sentenced to 17 years.

Lilith Saer, a Portland-based QAnon adherent who has made antisemitic statements, was sentenced to three years probation and 200 hours of community service after she pleaded guilty to charges that included intent to impede or disrupt an official proceeding in a restricted building and parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a capitol building.

Jonathanpeter Allen Klein, also a Proud Boy, and his brother Matthew Leland Klein were arrested in March 2021 and face six charges, including conspiracy to defraud the government and destruction of government property, a felony.

A jury found Reed Knox Christensen guilty on nine charges, including assaulting, resisting or impeding officers and acts of physical violence in the Capitol. Federal prosecutors said Christensen pushed and hit police officers, tried to breach metal barriers, and struck multiple U.S. Capitol Police officers. Up until a year before the insurrection, Christensen served in a leadership role on the Washington County Republican Party’s Central Committee. Christensen is scheduled to be sentenced in December.

Richard Lee Harris was found guilty in June on 11 counts including assaulting, resisting or impeding officers and violent entry or disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. Before traveling to Washington D.C. for the Jan. 6 events, Harris was filmed pushing a photojournalist at a December 2020 protest in Salem. In that case, he pleaded guilty to harassment and was fined $100. He is scheduled to be sentenced for his Jan. 6-related charges at the end of October.

Battle Ground resident Jeffrey Grace pleaded guilty in April to entering and remaining in a restricted building, a misdemeanor. In exchange, three other charges against him were dismissed. He was sentenced to 75 days in prison and 12 months of supervised release.

Several months after his February 2021 arrest, Grace was armed at protests that turned violent in Portland and El Paso, Texas, prompting a judge to modify his conditions of release to prohibit him from owning firearms and other weapons.

Jeffrey Grace’s son, Jeremy, took a similar deal and was sentenced to 21 days in prison and 12 months of probation.

Lincoln City resident Jeffrey Hubbard pleaded guilty to “parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a capitol building” in November 2022. He was sentenced to 45 days in prison and 36 months of probation.

Bru will be sentenced Jan. 8.

Copyright 2023 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Jonathan Levinson