DOJ charges 6 more defendants in the Oath Keepers movement with conspiracy in the Capitol insurrection

Oath Keepers
Members of the Oath Keepers at the ‘Stop the Steal’ rally on January 6 in Washington, DC. Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images
  • The DOJ charged six people in the Oath Keepers movement in connection with the Capitol riot.
  • Nine people associated with the Oath Keepers are charged with conspiracy to obstruct Congress.
  • The Oath Keepers are a far-right extremist group.
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In an indictment released on Friday, the Department of Justice charged six additional defendants associated with the far-right Oath Keepers movement with conspiracy to obstruct Congress.

The six new defendants have been added as codefendants to an existing case against three defendants, Jessica Watkins, Donovan Crowl, and Thomas Caldwell, alleging that Oath Keepers conspired to commit violence at the Capitol. The new defendants are Graydon Young, Kelly Meggs, Connie Meggs, Laura Steele, Sandra Ruth Parker, and Bennie Alvin Parker.

Prosecutors said in the indictment that the defendants planned to besiege the Capitol as early as November 3 and coordinated plans on social media for weeks beforehand to travel to Washington, DC, with weapons and tactical gear in tow. 

“Trump said It’s gonna be wild!!!!!!! It’s gonna be wild!!!!!!! He wants us to make it WILD that’s what he’s saying. He called us all to the Capitol and wants us to make it wild!!! Sir Yes Sir!!! Gentlemen we are heading to DC pack your s—!!” Meggs wrote in a December 22 Facebook message, prosecutors said. President Donald Trump tweeted on December 19: “Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!” 

So far, the DOJ has filed conspiracy charges against 18 defendants in total in connection with the riot, including the nine people associated with the Oath Keepers.

Since the Capitol siege, authorities have charged over 250 defendants with offenses including entering and remaining in a restricted building illegally, violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, and, in some cases, theft of US government property.

After the initial wave of prosecutions and arrests, investigators started refocusing their wide-ranging inquiries on whether the violence was coordinated, The Wall Street Journal reported. Those ongoing probes could lead to more-complex conspiracy and sedition charges, the report said.

In charging documents filed in the case of the Proud Boys leader Ethan Nordean earlier this month, prosecutors suggested that the far-right extremist group may have planned violence on police officers at the Capitol to get revenge on Washington-area law enforcement after one of their members was stabbed at a December demonstration that turned violent.

Earlier this month, Reuters reported that prosecutors at the Department of Justice were also considering whether to pursue charges under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, a law enacted in the 1970s to prosecute Mafia members and organized-crime rings and connect organized-crime leaders to those offenses.