Proud Boys member Dominic Pezzola, 43, of Rochester, New York, United States is facing 11 charges for his participation in the U.S. Capitol riot in Washington, D.C., USA on January 6, 2021. He is represented by federal public defender Jonathan Zucker.
That day, supporters of Donald Trump breached the U.S. Capitol building while a joint session of the Congress was certifying the vote of the Electoral College and affirming Joe Biden‘s victory in the 2020 U.S. presidential election. Deceived by Trump, Pezzola acted out of delusional belief that he was a patriot protecting his country in response to the 45th U.S. president’s calls, Zucker claimed in a 15-page motion for his client’s release.
“Defendant is former military who is sworn to protect his country,” Zucker argued. “He was responding to the entreaties of the then commander in chief, President Trump. The President maintained that the election had been stolen and it was the duty of loyal citizens to ‘stop the steal’.”
Zucker noted that Pezzola has no criminal history prior to the insurrection. The lawyer pointed out that his client was not acting out of criminal intent although his beliefs were not rationally based during the riot.
On February 9, 2021, Pezzola and co-defendant William Pepe, 31, of Beacon, Dutchess County, New York pleaded not guilty. Also a Proud Boys member, the latter participated in the U.S. Capitol riot, as well.
While Pepe was released on his own recognizance, Pezzola was ordered to be detained without bail pending his trial, Democrat & Chronicle reported. If released, the Rochester native would potentially engage in future activities against the U.S. Capitol or other buildings, U.S. Magistrate Judge Robin Meriweather ruled on February 10, 2021.
In 1995, Pezzola graduated from The Aquinas Institute of Rochester, a private Catholic school in Rochester. From 1998 to 2005, he served in the Marines, a military spokesperson told VICE.
As an infantry assaultman, Pezzola reached the rank of corporal. He never deployed and did not receive any personal medals.