ORLANDO, Fla. - For the first time Kelly Meggs, Florida’s self-proclaimed leader of the Oath Keepers is talking to FOX 35 News about January 6, 2021.
"Understand, this is the first time I’ve spoken to anybody about this," Meggs said by phone from inside a jail in Washington D.C.
Oath Keepers is an anti-government militia whose members claim to be defending the Constitution.
Meggs is one of 17 people, including his wife, charged in the storming of the nation’s Capitol Building, a riot that ultimately led to the deaths of five people. Investigators said Meggs is one of the leaders and accuse him of extensively planning his groups' trip to disrupt Congress.
"Did you go to DC with the intent of causing a riot or overtaking the Capitol?" FOX 35 News reporter Holly Bristow asked.
"Absolutely not. Had that been my plan, I certainly couldn’t have come with all 50, 60, and 80-year-olds. I came for one reason and one reason only, to do security and to listen to the president speak," Meggs said.
Meggs tells FOX 35 News that he and his group were planning on providing security for well-known Trump supporter and Republican operative Roger Stone, making sure he got from stage to stage safely for speaking engagements.
"Are you armed? Are you in uniform? What does this look like?" Bristow asked.
"We had Oath Keepers shirts on and we had like bump helmets, plastic helmets. A lot of times in riots people throw frozen water bottles or bricks, so we wear our bump helmets, and then we wear some kind of body armor like a stab vest so nobody can stab you," Meggs explained.
In his indictment, federal prosecutors identify Meggs and his co-conspirators walking in a "stack" formation up the Capitol Building steps.
"At what point did you enter the capitol?" Bristow asked.
"We were sitting out there…singing…and just hanging out. We heard a loud boom. The doors opened up and people just started pouring in. The surge. The crowd pushed through the doors. We were part of that crowd. The doors were open. The police were standing there, didn’t tell us not to come in, basically let us in and that’s how we got inside," Meggs said.
The feds paint a different picture in Meggs' indictment, saying the "stack" Meggs was a part of was "a mob that aggressively advanced towards the east side rotunda doors…assaulted the officers guarding the doors threw objects, and spread chemicals towards the officers and the doors and pulled violently on the doors," the indictment reads.
Surveillance cameras inside the Capitol Buildig captured video of Meggs and his group, but the feds did not detail his personal actions. Meggs tells FOX 35 News that he didn’t hurt anyone or destroy anything, that he helped people including the police.
"As we were walking around the rotunda one of the guys said hey there’s trouble over there and there was an officer who was trapped by a crowd of people. So we got in front of the crowd, in between the crowd and the officer, and pushed the crowd back and made a little barrier where they could not get to him, so he was able to come off the stairs, catch his breath," Meggs said.
He claims he didn’t see or the chaos and horror the world saw playing out on TV as congressional leaders were whisked away to safe rooms. He says he knew nothing of the deadly violence until he got back to his hotel room and turned on the television.
Meggs went home and went about his life. He said he figured, at some point, the FBI would come and talk to him and ask about what he saw that day and that would be the end of it. Meggs said he never expected what happened in February.
"I got pulled over by probably about 15 officers, Homeland Security ATF, FBI, local sheriff’s office with rifles drawn, body armor on, surrounded my vehicle. Put me face down in the middle of the road. Put me in a vehicle, took me back to my house, and basically stormed the hose and went through everything. Arrested my wife at the same time," Meggs said.
Meggs has been in jail, without bond, ever since. His wife, Connie, is now out on bond.
Meggs and a handful of his co-defendants will get their day in court on April 19. His attorney said the trial is expected to last at least four weeks.
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