New evidence suggests ‘alliance’ between Oath Keepers, Proud Boys ahead of Jan. 6, DOJ says
WASHINGTON - New evidence shows a team leader of the Oath Keepers militia accused of sieging the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 had coordinated "alliances" with co-conspirators, including the Proud Boys and other paramilitary groups in advance of the attack, according to the Department of Justice.
According to documents filed by the DOJ on March 23, Kelly Meggs, the Florida leader of the Oath Keepers, allegedly plotted with co-conspirators to stop the certification of the Electoral College vote. Meggs was allegedly prepared to use violence if necessary, according to the DOJ, and stormed the Capitol.
The 22-page document alleged that Meggs "engaged in extensive planning and financing to come to Washington, D.C., and coordinate with his coconspirators and others on how to accomplish his goals of disrupting Congress."
In private Facebook messages obtained by prosecutors shortly after the presidential election, Meggs exhorted others to join him and asked those who were ready to "join the fight" to message him directly.
On Dec. 19, Meggs also allegedly discussed his coordination with other groups who were planning to be in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, the records showed.
"Well we are ready for the rioters, this week I organize an alliance between the Oath Keepers, Florida 3%ers, and Proud Boys. We have decided to work together and shut this s*** down," Meggs wrote on Dec. 19.
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In additional messages written between Dec. 22-25, Meggs allegedly discussed coordination with the Proud Boys and the number of Oath Keepers that would be in D.C. on Jan. 6.
"We’re going to march with them for awhile then fall to the back of the crowd and turn off. Then we will have the Proud Boys get in front of them the cops will get between antifa and Proud Boys. We will come in behind antifa and beat the hell out of them," Meggs wrote.
According to the DOJ, between Dec. 12, 2020, and Jan. 3, 2021, Meggs allegedly organized and participated in approximately 10 online meetings on Go To Meeting that were affiliated with the Oath Keepers.
Photo and video evidence obtained at the Capitol riot showed Meggs and his alleged co-conspirators ascended the steps on the east side of the Capitol, pushing through and parting the crowd so that they could get closer to the doors at the top of the steps.
The documents from the DOJ are the first piece of evidence to suggest coordination among various extremist groups ahead of the Capitol riot.
Meggs was arrested on Feb. 17 and was charged with conspiracy, destruction of government property, obstruction of a federal proceeding and entering a restricted building without lawful authority. He was indicted on Feb. 19 on the four counts.
Last week, The FBI’s Washington Field Office released new information and videos of suspects in the most egregious assaults on federal officers during the riots at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and is seeking the public’s help to identify them.
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The FBI is still seeking many rioters more than two months after violent extremists stormed the U.S. Capitol and committed a litany of federal criminal acts.
"With the assistance of hundreds of thousands of tips from the American people, the FBI has arrested more than 300 individuals who took part in the Capitol riots. Of those, more than 65 were arrested for assaulting law enforcement officers," the FBI wrote in a press release.
The FBI said that "some of the most violent offenders have yet to be identified" and is asking for help in identifying individuals.
"These individuals are seen on video committing egregious crimes against those who have devoted their lives to protecting the American people," said Steven M. D’Antuono, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office. "We know it can be a difficult decision to report information about family, friends, or coworkers, but it is the right thing to do, and the FBI continues to need your help to identify these suspects."
This story was reported from Los Angeles.