Key Proud Boys trial skids to halt after accidental leak of classified info to defense
(Photo by John Rudoff for AFP)

A major federal government case against the militant Proud Boys in the Jan. 6 uprising temporarily ground to a halt Thursday after the Justice Department accidentally leaked likely classified information to the defense.

The case is widely regarded as the most important to date regarding the 2021 Capitol riot.

The apparent leak of suspected classified information was tied to the testimony this week of FBI Special Agent Nicole Miller, a lead investigator in the case, Politico reported Thursday.

Prosecutors shared with the defense internal FBI messages sent and received by Miller at work that supported her testimony. The messages were supposed to be scrubbed of any classified information, but it apparently was still accessible in hidden sections of the Excel spreadsheet supplied to the defense, according to Politico.

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Prosecutors learned of the major snafu when the defense reportedly began grilling Miller — in front of jurors — on what appeared to be classified information. U.S. District Court Judge Tim Kelly paused the trial Thursday and ordered defense attorneys to refrain from reviewing or disseminating the messages until the FBI was able to conduct a review of the information.

It was not immediately clear when the trial will resume or what kind of impact the information could have on the case. Kelly was reportedly hopeful the review could be completed by the end of the day. The trial is already in its third month.

Proud Boys former national chair Enrique Tarrio and four lieutenants of the group stand accused in the case of seditious conspiracy for what prosecutors have characterized as a sophisticated plot to essentially overthrow the U.S government by halting the transfer of power from Donald Trump to presidential victor Joe Biden.

The planning involved a battle-like campaign to attack the Capitol in teams, who were prepared to expand the fight throughout other federal buildings to effectively seize control of the government, prosecutors have argued.

The defense has claimed that the Proud Boys are little more than a "glorified drinking club," according to Politico, and members had no plans to storm the Capitol or stop Biden from becoming president.

For more detail check out the full Politico story here.