This is part of a series reporting on the So Cal Antifa cell.
A So Cal Antifa member pleaded guilty to being part of a violent, organized Antifa riot almost three years ago at Pacific Beach, San Diego.;
Faraz Martin Talab, now 29 years old, of Atwater Village, Los Angeles, was captured on evidence video on Jan. 9, 2021 at a riot where roving mobs of black-clad Antifa members attacked supporters of Donald Trump and people walking on the beach boardwalk. He is now the seventh person to plead guilty in the ongoing felony conspiracy case.
In San Diego County Superior Court on Oct. 13, Talab pleaded guilty to felony conspiracy to riot with his ten Antifa co-defendants, plus he admitted to assaulting a person with force likely to produce great bodily injury. As part of his plea deal, Talab admitted to joining in the Antifa attack with co-conspirators Joseph Austin Gaskins, 23, and Christian Martinez, 25. Gaskins was convicted in a plea deal in November 2022.
All 11 defendants in the San Diego Antifa riot case
Expert witnesses previously testified before a grand jury that it was Talab with his hair pulled into a bun, wearing a gray Hurley face covering, and a black bandana across his forehead, in videos of the attack admitted as evidence.
San Diego District Attorney investigator Jonah Conley testified that in one photo submitted into evidence, Talab stood next to an Antifa flag with his co-defendants Brian Cortez Lightfoot Jr., and Christian Martinez. Martinez pleaded guilty in November 2022.
Talab sent this photo to his co-defendant Lightfoot, the investigator said.
From left to right: So Cal Antifa members Brian Cortez Lightfoot Jr., Christian Martinez and Faraz Martin Talab at the Pacific Beach, San Diego riot in January 2021
In Talab's plea deal, four other felony charges of assault and unlawful use of tear gas were dismissed.
Talab also admitted to attacking a victim identified in court as "J.C.," who The Post Millennial previously reported is freelance photojournalist Jonathan Cocozza. Talab confronted Cocozza and assaulted him because he was recording the Antifa gathering. At the secret grand jury hearing leading to the indictment in June 2022, San Diego County prosecutor William Hopkins told the grand jury that Antifa assault people who photograph them because they only want the public to see "the narrative they [Antifa] want."
San Diego freelance photojournalist Jonathan Cocozza was surrounded and beaten by Antifa at the riot
Antifa members regularly assault and rob journalists also for the purpose of preventing them from documenting their crimes—evidence they don't want law enforcement or the public to see. To get their propaganda out in the media blackout, they rely on networks of leftist journalists, many of whom contribute to news sites like the Daily Beast, Vice, Vox, Rolling Stone, among many others.
Talab admitted that he brandished a can of tear gas as a weapon during that incident and that he helped surround and mob the journalist. (Cocozza was reached for comment.)
When San Diego police searched Talab's car as part of an executed search warrant in 2021, they found a baton that was fully extended and wedged between the passenger seat and the center console.
San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan announced in June 2022 that 11 Antifa members had been indicted by a secret grand jury on a total of 29 felonies for crimes including conspiracy to riot, assault and other violent crimes.
The grand jury indictment stated: "[t]he defendants are all affiliated with Antifa. A group of the defendants originated from the Los Angeles area and the remaining defendants are from San Diego County. Antifa uses force, fear, and violence to further their interests and suppress the interests of others. The objective of this conspiracy was to incite and participate in a riot."
Multiple weapons and firearms were seized from suspects during searches by law enforcement ahead of the charges. The case sent shockwaves across far-left activist networks in the US because it was the first time prosecutors had charged Antifa members with conspiracy. The Antifa members were accused of being part of a network of violent cells in southern California that planned and carried out brutal attacks on the public. Since then, similar conspiracy-style charges have been used elsewhere against Antifa-linked militant suspects.
Faraz Martin Talab is a violent member of the Los Angeles cell of Antifa
In September, the Georgia Attorney General announced that 61 defendants were indicted on RICO, domestic terrorism and/or money laundering charges by a grand jury in Fulton County. The defendants, who include an SPLC staffer, come from across the US and even abroad. They allegedly belong to the "Defend the Atlanta Forest" group, a violent network that carried out years of gun violence, riots, vandalism and arson attacks in the Atlanta area to prevent the construction of a first responder training facility.
Conviction-after-conviction for San Diego County prosecutors
Out of the original 11 Antifa defendants, seven, including Talab, have pleaded guilty so far. Erich Louis "Nikki" Yach, 39, Christian Martinez, 25, Bryan Rivera, 22, Joseph Austin Gaskins, 23, Samuel Howard Ogden, 25, and Alexander Akridge-Jacobs, 33, made plea deals within the last year in front of presiding Judge Daniel B. Goldstein.
Judge Daniel B. Goldstein is presiding over the Antifa riot case
There are four defendants who have not yet taken plea deals. Brian Cortez Lightfoot Jr., 27, Luis Francisco Mora, 32, Jeremy Jonathan White, 41, and Jesse Merel Cannon, 33, all remain released on their own recognizance while awaiting jury trial.
Brian Cortez Lightfoot Jr., Luis Francisco Mora, Jeremy Jonathan White and Jesse Merel Cannon are the only remaining defendants out of the 11 who have not taken plea deals
Lightfoot is being represented by far-left San Francisco activist attorney, John Hamasaki. Hamasaki tried—and failed—to get the court to ban TPM from reporting on his client's case.
Attorney John Hamasaki filed a motion to ask the court to ban The Post Millennial from reporting on the Antifa riot case
Erich Louis Yach, a trans activist known as "Nikki," was the first Antifa defendant to make a plea deal in September 2022. Yach was out on bail for a previous felony charge when Yach rioted with Antifa, leading to a heavier prison sentence of four years and eight months. Yach is currently incarcerated at the men's California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility in Corcoran, Calif.
Erich Louis 'Nikki' Yach was the first to plead guilty and is the only defendant currently serving a prison sentence
Talab has prior convictions that will likely affect his sentencing, which is to be determined at a future court date. Judge Goldstein stated that Talab could get as much as one year of custody in a local jail instead of going to state prison in the plea deal, plus probation.
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