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Rare sedition charge for Pa. Proud Boys leader

Plus, Pa.'s definition of broadband internet is stuck in the past.

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Your Postmaster: Colin Deppen
June 7, 2022
J6 charges, speed trap, poll watch, college cut, party intrigue, recount results, and a one-of-a-kind Pennsylvania whiskey. It's Tuesday. Welcome.
A Philadelphia Proud Boys leader is among five members of the far-right group charged by a grand jury with seditious conspiracy for their role in the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol attack, the Washington Post reports.

Zachary Rehl, of the city's Port Richmond neighborhood, and his co-defendants are accused of coordinating travel to Washington, D.C. and the movements of the group around the Capitol that day.

Their goal, according to the indictment, was to foment a riot, storm Congress, and prevent the certification of President Joe Biden's victory.

The Inquirer reports Rehl, a 36-year-old Marine veteran and son and grandson of Philadelphia police officers, has remained in custody since his March arrest. Rehl's attorney says he adamantly maintains his innocence.

The paper adds that the historically rare sedition charge leveled against him is the most serious brought against any of the more than 800 people charged with playing a role in the riot that day. Pennsylvania's share of Jan. 6 defendants remains among the highest in the country. 

THE CONTEXT: Prosecutors say Rehl, along with Henry "Enrique" Tarrio, longtime chairman of the extremist group, and three other chapter presidents encouraged members from across the country to descend on Washington that day, helped fund their travel, provided military gear, and developed plans to avoid detection by law enforcement.

Rehl is also alleged to have helped lead a crowd of roughly 100 Proud Boys to the Capitol security lines, where prosecutors say they stormed the gates and forced their way inside. This photo was taken by the New Yorker's Luke Mogelson inside the office of U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D., Ore.).

Three other Philadelphia Proud Boys — Isaiah Giddings, 29, of Philadelphia; Brian Healion, 31, of Upper Darby; and Freedom Vy, 36, of Philadelphia — have also been indicted on lesser charges, The Inquirer notes.

Law enforcement is expanding its look into Jan. 6 coordination among extremist groups, like the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers.

On Thursday, the U.S. House Select Committee investigating the attack will begin outlining its findings in a televised primetime hearing

"My symptoms are mild. I'm grateful that I recently got my second vaccine booster."

Gov. Tom Wolf announcing he has tested positive for COVID-19 for the second time; Wolf says he will be isolating at home
Beautiful Chanticleer Garden in Wayne, via @mar_sees_lifeSend us your gems, use #PAGems on Instagram, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania.
DATA SPEED: Pennsylvania hasn't updated its definition of broadband internet in 20 years, with state lawmakers passing up a chance to increase minimum speeds despite warnings that they would soon become obsolete, Spotlight PA reports. The result? The state standard guiding efforts to expand broadband access here isn't always ensuring a service that meets modern technological needs.

POLL WATCHERS: The GOP-controlled state Senate on Monday approved a bill that would remove a county residency requirement for partisan poll watchers and allow more of them into polling places during voting. The bill, sponsored by state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R., Franklin), the GOP nominee for governor, would also give the poll watchers access to "any facility where votes are collected," the AP reports. 

SCHOOL SHIFT: Roughly $580 million in state funding for in-state students attending Pitt, Penn State, Temple, and Lincoln Universities would be spread out among all universities, colleges, and technical schools here under a college voucher bill introduced by state Rep. Eric Nelson (R., Westmoreland) last week, TribLIVE reports. Spotlight PA explains how the funding became a budget-season target.

PARTY POST: Pennsylvania Democratic Party drama has spilled into the open with gubernatorial nominee Josh Shapiro endorsing someone other than the party's vice chair, state Sen. Sharif Street of Philadelphia, for the statewide party's top post. Shapiro, who is himself running for office while holding elected office, said the party should be led by someone "who can focus entirely on the task at hand," per The Inquirer.

COUNT OUT: David McCormick has conceded the GOP U.S. Senate primary to Mehmet Oz, but the state's taxpayer-funded, automatic recount continues. Capital-Star reports there is no legal way of stopping a recount once it's started, and while McCormick could have waived the process off before it commenced, he did not. The results of the recount are expected to be released publicly on Wednesday.
IN CUSTODY: Philadelphia authorities say one person — 18-year-old Quran Garner — has been charged in connection with the city's largest shooting in nearly a decade, via WHYY. Fourteen people were shot, three fatally, in a volley of gunfire on South Street late Saturday. More arrests are expected. 
Police say Garner used a ghost gun with an extended magazine.

NEW PREZ: Angela Ferritto, a native of Erie, is taking the helm of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO as the labor group's first female president, per Erie Times-News. President-elect Frank Snyder was due to take office this week but retired in May amid an internal misconduct investigation.

WHISKEY TRAIL: The New York Times hit the Whiskey Rebellion Trail in search of Pennsylvania's "one-of-a-kind," cornless version of the spirit. The paper found plenty of the "unctuous and peppery" drink and a few upside down portraits of Alexander Hamilton along the way.

TAX TIME: Tanya Todd took on Allegheny County's property tax system and won. PublicSource explains how the North Homewood resident, whose house was plagued by sewage backups, succeeded in getting her tax bill lowered with help that's not always available to those who need it.

AUCTION BLOCK: Autographs and letters from the likes of Jackie Robinson, Ella Fitzgerald, and J. Edgar Hoover — collected by a longtime Ephrata postal worker and nearly discarded last year — are headed to auction today and expected to fetch princely sums, LNP | LancasterOnline reports.
Unscramble and send your answer to scrambler@spotlightpa.org. We'll shout out winners here, and one each week will get some Spotlight PA swag.

This week's theme: English words with Greek origins
Yesterday's answer: Aphrodisiac

Congrats to our daily winners: Mary D., Becky C., Elaine C., Steve H., Susan N.-Z., Beth T., Don H., Bonnie R., Craig W., Kimberly S., Tish M., Suzanne S., Doris T., Dianne K., George S., Nancy S., Michelle T., George S., Bill S., David W., Myles M., Vicki U., Mary Jo J., Daniel M., David S., John P., James B., and Alissa H.
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