Jan 25, 2023 - News

Tampa informer key to 4 Oath Keepers convictions

A member of the Oath Keepers.

A demonstrator wears an Oath Keepers badge on a protective vest during a protest outside the U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 5, 2021. (Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

A line cook from Tampa was a star witness in helping prosecutors convict four more Oath Keepers for their actions during the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Driving the news: Joseph Hackett, 52, of Sarasota, David Moerschel, 45, of Punta Gorda, and two other Oath Keepers members were found guilty by a D.C. jury on Monday of seditious conspiracy and other charges for trying to disrupt a joint session of Congress and keep Donald Trump in the presidency.

  • Key to the prosecution was testimony from Caleb Berry, a Tampa man who joined the local Oath Keepers at 19 because he was "sick of hiding" his opinions, particularly from his "liberal" girlfriend, the Washington Post reports.

What he did: Berry testified that he heard the Oath Keepers hatch an explicit plan to enter the Capitol and stop the certification of Joe Biden's presidential victory.

  • He also testified that he and Hackett dropped long-gun cases and ammunition off for a group called the "Quick Reaction Force" on Jan. 5.

The intrigue: Berry testified that he had a change of heart after the insurrection and was ashamed of his participation. He told the jury that his girlfriend said "I told you so," plenty of times.

  • He pleaded guilty to conspiracy and obstruction of an official proceeding in 2021 and vowed to work with prosecutors.

The big picture: Since Jan. 6, 2021, more than 950 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including over 284 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement, according to the Department of Justice.


Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Tampa Bay.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Tampa Bay stories

No stories could be found

Tampa Baypostcard

Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Tampa Bay.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more