Feds Probed Neo-Nazis Fuentes And Gionet But Never Charged Them
When text messages from FBI agents involved in looking into connections between Donald Trump and Russia revealed that some of those agents made comments very similar to what Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham, or Marco Rubio were saying at the same time, Republicans went into full “lock ‘em up” mode, insisting that not liking Trump was sure evidence of an FBI conspiracy.
Strangely enough, none of those Republicans seem to be upset about FBI texts and emails showing that some agents expressed sympathy for those who smashed their way into the Capitol on January 6. Or how some even suggested they might join in. That’s not a conspiracy, as far as Republicans are concerned. It’s just proof that those poor folks who wanted to overturn the government and string up Mike Pence were in the right.
Now an article in The New York Times shows that not only were some of the FBI agents involved empathetic with the people they were supposed to be investigating, the Justice Department never acted on some of the evidence those investigations produced. That included the DOJ apparently dropping a case of conspiracy involving white supremacist Nick Fuentes and racist conspiracy livestreamer “Baked Alaska.”
The agent involved, Nicole Miller, was one of those who expressed empathy for the Jan. 6 suspects she was investigating. She texted another agent, “Is it bad i almost kind of feel bad for [New York Proud Boy Dominic Pezzola]” and said she felt bad about his kids. However, this expression of empathy didn’t stop Agent Miller from collecting evidence that showed how a whole host of Proud Boys had been involved in planning events on Jan. 6.
[Note: If you haven’t been following along, Brandi Buchman has continued her coverage of the Proud Boys’ trial over at emptywheel.]
At the same time she was digging through this web of connections, Miller put together evidence of another conspiracy:
In a separate matter, she was also working on a never-filed conspiracy indictment against the white nationalist Nick Fuentes and one of his allies, the far-right troll Anthime Gionet, better known by his nickname Baked Alaska.
While Miller’s work on the Proud Boys, and the grueling pace she put in to handle everything involved with these sprawling operations, dominates the article, this is the only mention of Fuentes and Gionet. That’s because, as the article notes, the case Miller investigated was never charged.
It’s not that both got clean away. Gionet foolishly blew up his own plea deal involving his actions on Jan. 6, but he still ended up with just a 60 day sentence. On the other hand, Fuentes, who among other things stood before the crowd on Jan. 6 and gave a speech that included “It is the American people, and our leader, Donald Trump, against everybody else in this country and this world” and “Our Founding Fathers would get in the streets, and they would take this country back by force if necessary. And that is what we must be prepared to do,” was never charged. He would go on to an infamous meeting with Donald Trump and Kayne West at Mar-a-Lago in November, 2022.
If Miller actually collected evidence that would have supported conspiracy charges against Gionet and Fuentes, what was that evidence? Why were they never charged? A conspiracy charge would have certainly generated a more lengthy sentence for Gionet, and might have seen violent white supremacist Fuentes finally facing a day in court.
It’s common practice for the Justice Department not to reveal people who are under investigation, in order to minimize the impact if they turn out to be innocent. But in this case we know who was under investigation, we know why they were under investigation, we know who carried out the investigation.
What did Miller find? And why was it never charged?
Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.