The lead defendant in an indictment charging three Southern California men linked to a white supremacy group with planning and engaging in riots at political rallies has been extradited to the United States from Romania to face charges Wednesday.
Robert Rundo, 33, of Huntington Beach, allegedly a founding member of the Rise Above Movement, was transported by special agents with the FBI from Romania to Hollywood Burbank Airport, where he arrived Tuesday evening.
During a hearing Wednesday in Los Angeles federal court, Rundo pleaded not guilty to the charges and was ordered jailed without bond.
Rundo, along with two other defendants, is charged with conspiracy to violate the federal Anti-Riot Act for his activities with RAM, a white supremacist organization that describes itself “as a combat-ready, militant group of a new nationalist white supremacy and identity movement,” according to the indictment.
In addition to the conspiracy charge, Rundo also is charged with one count of rioting.
The two other defendants in the case are Robert Boman, 30, of Torrance, and Tyler Laube, 27, of Redondo Beach.
Boman and Laube are charged with conspiracy to violate the Anti-Riot Act. Boman also is charged with one count of rioting.
A trial date is scheduled for Dec. 12 in Santa Ana federal court.
According to the indictment, the defendants participated in the conspiracy in varying ways, including by recruiting RAM members, coordinating and participating in hand-to-hand and other combat training, traveling to political rallies to attack protesters and other persons, and publishing photographs and videos of violent acts to recruit other members for future events.
Federal prosecutors allege that various members of the conspiracy directly participated in attacks at political rallies in Huntington Beach on March 25, 2017; in Berkeley on April 15, 2017; and in San Bernardino on June 10, 2017. In the months following these events, the defendants allegedly trained for future events and celebrated their assaults, which included online posts with photos of RAM members assaulting people.
In June 2019, a Santa Ana federal judge dismissed the indictment against Rundo and the other defendants, finding that the federal riots act — under which they were charged — “is unconstitutionally overbroad in violation of the First Amendment.”
In March 2021, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the dismissal and criminal charges were reinstated.
Both the conspiracy and rioting charges carry sentences of up to five years in federal prison, prosecutors noted.
Also in 2019, three members of RAM were sentenced to between two and three years behind bars for assaulting anti-racism protesters at a white nationalist rally in Virginia and political gatherings in California.
Benjamin Daley, 30, of Torrance; Michael Miselis, 34, of Lawndale; and Thomas Gillen, 29, of Redondo Beach, each pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Charlottesville, Virginia, to conspiracy to riot. The RAM members were caught on camera assaulting counter-protesters before a planned “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville in August 2017, prosecutors said.