Feb 19, 2021 - Politics & Policy

DOJ charges 9 alleged Oath Keepers with conspiracy for role in Capitol riots

Photo of a person in tactical gear with an Oath Keepers badge

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Department of Justice has arrested six additional people with ties to the far-right Oath Keepers militia group for their participation in the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, the agency announced Friday.

Driving the news: A total of nine members of the group have been charged with coordinating the attack using military-style tactics. "The case against those affiliated with the Oath Keepers is the largest conspiracy case brought by the U.S. Justice Department so far in the Jan. 6 insurrection," AP writes.

Details: The indictment alleges the defendants “did knowingly combine, conspire, confederate, and agree with each other and others known and unknown” to forcibly infiltrate the U.S. Capitol and obstruct Congress from certifying the election of Joe Biden as president.

  • Authorities say members of the group arrived at the Capitol wearing military-style tactical vests and helmets, marching the Capitol steps in a "stack" formation.
  • The DOJ indicted Jessica Marie Watkins and Donovan Ray Crowl of Ohio, and Thomas Caldwell of Virginia last month. The new arrests include:
    • Sandra and Bennie Parker of Ohio
    • Graydon Young of Florida
    • Laura Steele of North Carolina
    • Kelly and Connie Meggs of Florida

On Dec. 22, Kelly Meggs wrote on Facebook, saying President Trump’s comment that Jan. 6 would be “wild” meant he “wants us to make it WILD. . . . He called us all to the Capitol. . . . Gentlemen we are heading to DC,” the indictment alleges.

  • Caldwell, a former Navy intelligence officer and FBI official, purportedly used his military and law enforcement background to organize violence, including possible snipers and other "heavy" weapons smuggled on a boat along the Potomac River, according to court filings.

The Oath Keepers "believe that the federal government has been coopted by a shadowy conspiracy that is trying to strip American citizens of their rights," court documents say.

  • The group aims to recruit current and former military members, law enforcement and first-responders.

The big picture: Nearly 200 cases involving the siege have led to federal charges to date, per AP.

  • Members of the Proud Boys, a far-right extremist group, also face charges.

Read the full indictment.

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