Michale Graves, former singer of punk band Misfits, is set to be a potential defence witness in a trial against members of the right-wing Proud Boys organisation following the storming of the US Capitol on January 6.
Members of the Proud Boys – which Graves joined last year – were among those in the mob of supporters of former President Donald Trump who stormed the Capitol on January 6. Prosecutors have now accused them as conspirators behind the insurrection.
Graves, real name Michael Emanuel, was in Washington on the day of the riot playing a private gig for a group called “Latinos for Trump”, having been invited to play by a fellow Proud Boys member. The gig was intended to boost morale after Proud Boys leader, Enrique Tarrio, was arrested on January 4 on gun related charges.
In conversation with news outlet Reuters, Graves said that he did not think the group was capable of planning the invasion of the Capitol, which left five people dead including one police officer. Graves told them: “These guys have a hard time getting an order together for McDonalds”.
Prominent Proud Boys member Ethan “Rufio” Nordean — one of the defendants charged with planning the capital attack — said in a court filing via his lawyers that he was organising a “carefree music party” on January 6.
Defence lawyers argued that this party, although it never actually happened, contradicted the conspiracy that the group was involved in the plan to “topple the government” that day.
Graves said he had met up with Nordean on January 5, which was when he asked to play the private party. After agreeing to perform, the former singer said he then “ghosted” the Proud Boy group as soon as the Capitol attack began, leaving Washington with his manager, Arturo Santaella.
Santaella said of the Proud Boys: “They are not this well-oiled machine”.
In a court filing, messages from the Proud Boys showed that they were feeling panicked during the attack, with one reading “Ummm I don’t think the plan was to attack … damage, and attempt to control the building.” Another read: “This is so unorganized! Where is our order?”
Graves fronted the Misfits from 1995 until 2000 and appeared on albums American Psycho and Famous Monsters.
Meanwhile, Iced Earth guitarist Jon Schaffer is currently being held without bail until his trial for his alleged involvement in the storming of the US Capitol.
Schaffer is being held on six federal criminal charges related to the siege, which include engaging in an act of physical violence in a Capitol building after allegedly assaulting a Capitol officer with bear spray. The guitarist appeared in photos and videos from the riots at the Capitol building in Washington D.C. In one video, he could be heard saying: “If somebody wants to bring violence, I think there’s a lot of us here that are ready for it.”
His attorneys have have argued that he did not act violently, claiming he had “left the Capitol after approximately 60 seconds and returned home to Indiana”. However, Magistrate Judge Zia Faruqui determined that Schaffer was a threat to the community and should be held without bail until his trial begins.