Six more defendants were added to a federal conspiracy case Friday accusing associates of the para-military Oath Keepers group with coordinating their alleged roles in the deadly assault on the Capitol last month.
Federal prosecutors said that one the new suspects, Kelly Meggs, a 52-year-old Florida man, allegedly referred to former President Donald Trump directly in a Facebook campaign to draw more recruits to the Jan. 6 protest in Washington that later left five people dead, including a Capitol police officer.
“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,” Meggs allegedly wrote just weeks before the Capitol siege. “He called us all to the Capitol and wants us tomakeitwild!!! SirYesSir!!! Gentlemen we are heading to DC pack your s—!!”
Trump was acquitted of inciting the riot in his second impeachment case before the Senate on Saturday. However, the former president still faces both criminal investigations and civil litigation.
Meggs was charged along with his wife, Connie Meggs, 59; Laura Steele, 52, of North Carolina; Graydon Young, 54, of Florida; Bennie Parker, 70, of Ohio; and his wife, Sandra Parker, 60.
The charges represent an expansion of an existing conspiracy case charging three Oath Keeper members, including Virginia organizer Thomas Caldwell in connection with the riots.
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Federal prosecutors have detailed how Caldwell and the others alleged planned their roles in the attack weeks in advance, then coordinated by radio as they moved into the Capitol in group formation, wearing helmets, reinforced vests and military-style insignia.
In a New Year’s Eve post on Facebook, Caldwell alerted the group that the protest against the Biden election “begins for real Jan 5 and 6 …”
“Let them try to certify some crud on capitol hill with a million or more patriots in the streets,” he allegedly state. “This kettle is set to boil…”
On the day of the attack, prosecutors charged that eight members of the group “prepared themselves for battle before heading to the Capitol by equipping themselves with communication devices and donning reinforced vests, helmets, and goggles.”
The Oath Keepers are known to recruit current and former military, law enforcement and first-responder personnel.
The conspiracy charges are among the most serious offenses alleged in the far-reaching riot investigation involving a diverse group of Trump supporters — members of far-right and anti-government groups and others whose paths to the Capitol started in communities across the country.
Among those facing charges in the riot are current and former police officers, a fashion student, grandparents, a fishing boat captain, former athletes and elected officials.
Other groups with whom defendants have been associated include:
- QAnon, a once-fringe internet conspiracy movement that recently grew into a powerful force in mainstream conservative politics.
- Proud Boys, a misogynistic, anti-immigrant and anti-Semitic group with ties to white supremacism.
- Three Percenters, an anti-government militia movement.
- “Super Happy Fun America,” a group with ties to white nationalists known for organizing a “straight pride” parade in downtown Boston in 2019
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