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Oath Keeper charged with bringing explosives to DC before January 6

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US prosecutors on Friday leveled new charges against the leader of the Oath Keepers and alleged members charged with seditious conspiracy in the January 6, 2021 Capitol attack, saying a co-conspirator came to Washington with explosives and detailed allegations that a co-defendant kept a “death list” by the name of a Georgian election official.

The allegations came days before the Jan. 6 House Committee is scheduled to hold its next hearing Tuesday, which is expected to examine links between extremist groups accused of playing a key role in the Capitol violence and the attempted President Donald Trump to undo the 2020. election by false claims of voter fraud.

In a 28-page file, prosecutors said a Jan. 19, 2021, search of the home of accused co-defendant Thomas Caldwell, a retired naval intelligence officer from Berryville, Virginia, found a document that reads “DEATH LIST.” ” handwritten at the top with the name of a Georgia election official and an alleged relative of the official. Both were the target of baseless allegations of involvement in voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election, prosecutors said.

“The fact that Caldwell created and maintained a ‘death list’ of officials involved in the presidential election process — concurrent with his preparation to travel to Washington, DC — illustrates his actions during the alleged conspiracy and intent to forcibly oppose the transfer of power, ” wrote assistant US attorney Troy A. Edwards Jr. of Washington, citing the seditious conspiracy charges against Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes and eight others, including Caldwell.

On Friday night, Caldwell attorney David Fischer sent a statement from his client in which he said the the charge, which prosecutors first raised in their plea for Caldwell’s pre-trial detention in February 2021. A judge has since granted Caldwell parole.

“The DOJ’s claim that I intended to kill election workers is an absolute, 100% disgusting lie. Unfortunately, the DOJ has withheld from the public evidence that exonerates me by hiding behind protective orders,” the statement said.

Separately, Edwards said the government has evidence that members of the group from Florida and Arizona allegedly staged semiautomatic rifles and other weapons at a Washington suburban hotel, while a third team from North Carolina had their firearms “ready to use” in kept a vehicle in the parking lot. lot.

The prosecutor alleged that another co-defendant of Rhodes, alleged Florida captain Kelly Meggs, told a cooperating defendant who has pleaded guilty in a collaboration agreement with the government that another member of the Florida group, Jeremy Brown, was going to Washington had arrived with explosives in his recreational vehicle, which he left parked in College Park, Md. Brown, who has pleaded not guilty to the Jan. 6 felony, is not facing charges in the seditious conspiracy charge but was described by prosecutors as an “unindicted co-conspirator.”

The government allegedly seized weapons last September from Brown, including two illegal short-barreled firearms from his home in Tampa and military grenades from “the same motor home that Brown traveled to Washington DC on Jan. 6,” the prosecutor claimed.

Stand-by attorney for Brown — a retired Special Forces soldier and once a congressional candidate who is in self-defense but has been detained pending trial of separate federal gun charges in Florida — did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The latest US allegations were contained in a court filing required as prosecutors seek derogatory evidence at the Oath Keepers trial, scheduled for September 26, that is not directly related to their charged offenses. Federal criminal law usually prohibits such foreign material, but makes an exception for relevant information that is allegedly motive, the intent of a broader indicted conspiracy, or otherwise “intrinsic” to a case.

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Prosecutors allege the defendants are being charged, including conspiracy to corruptly obstruct Congress’ certification of the 2020 election results and forcibly oppose President Biden’s swearing-in ceremony. Indictment papers allege the group coordinated travel, equipment and firearms and hid weapons outside Washington, ready “to answer Rhodes’ call to take up arms toward Rhodes”.

“Caldwell’s trips to Washington, DC, before January 6, as his statements show, were based on the belief that the election was fraudulent and that the lawful transfer of presidential power must be thwarted by force. His writings aimed at election officials are directly relevant on this point,” Edwards said.

Edwards added: “Brown’s statements, firearms and explosives are inherent in the charges of the co-conspirators as contemporaneous, direct evidence of the manner and means used by the co-conspirators to further the goals of the accused conspiracy.”

In pleadings, three Oath Keepers defendants who pleaded guilty to seditious conspiracy charges admitted they were part of a group forced into the Rotunda doors after lining up in a pile up stairs wearing camouflage vests, helmets, goggles and Oath Keepers insignia. They acknowledged that some had brought guns to Washington that had been stored beforehand in a Ballston hotel and one in Vienna.

Rhodes, Caldwell and the other co-defendants have pleaded not guilty. Rhodes said in a March 2021 interview with The Washington Post that there was no plan to breach the Capitol. He has said the group was stepping up firearms in Northern Virginia in case it was needed as a “rapid response force” if Trump were to invoke the Insurrection Act and mobilize armed groups to keep themselves in office. Rhodes’ lawyer declined to comment on the latest government allegations Friday night.

The attack on the Capitol came after a rally outside the White House, during which Trump urged his supporters to march to Congress. The rioters injured dozens of police officers and ransacked the Capitol’s offices, halting proceedings as lawmakers were evacuated from the House floor.

Separately, a lawyer for Rhodes said he had contacted the House Committee on Jan. 6 earlier Friday, offering to testify for her on condition that he may appear live, in person, and unedited, not from the prison where he was arrested. is in pre-trial detention.

Rhodes “isn’t interested in games,” attorney Lee Bright said, and he would talk about his group’s activities in the last election and on Jan. 6, during which he relinquished his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination. Bright said the commission appears to be considering Rhodes’ terms, recognizing as a practical matter that such an appearance would likely include a court order from the judge, prosecutors’ input into his criminal case and transportation by the US Marshals Service.

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