Jun 23, 2021 - Politics & Policy

First defendant in Oath Keeper conspiracy case to plead guilty to Jan. 6 charges

Pro-trump protesters rally at the Capitol Building on January 6.
Pro-Trump protesters rally inside the Capitol Building on Jan. 6. Photo: Brent Stirton/Getty Images

Graydon Young, 54, will plead guilty on Wednesday as part of a 16-person conspiracy case alleging members of the far-right Oath Keepers militia plotted to carry out the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, CNN reports.

Why it matters: It's the first guilty plea among defendants in any of major Jan. 6 conspiracy cases being prosecuted by the Justice Department, including those targeting the far-right Proud Boys and Three Percenters. It's unclear whether Young's plea signals that he will cooperate with prosecutors going forward.

Context: The FBI describes the Oath Keepers as a "paramilitary organization" composed of current and former military members, law enforcement and first-responders, who believe that "the federal government has been coopted by a shadowy conspiracy that is trying to strip American citizens of their rights."

  • Prosecutors say Young took part in the "stack" military formation of Oath Keepers that cut through the crowd to move inside the Capitol, per CNN.
  • He is charged with six crimes, including conspiracy and aiding and abetting the obstruction of the congressional proceeding. These charges may be reduced as a result of the deal.
  • The co-defendants in Young's case continue to contest their charges.
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