Nine so-called Oath Keepers have been charged by federal agents with conspiracy, accusing them of spending months planning an attack on the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to halt the certification of the election victory of President Joe Biden.
The Department of Justice leveled charges against six other Oath Keepers members. Earlier in their investigation, they charged 3 others.
On its website, the Anti-Defamation League describes the Oath Keepers as “a large and loosely organized anti-government extremist group” actively recruiting active and former military, law enforcement and first responder staff.
Prosecutors said the nine defendants worked together to coordinate plans for months before Jan. 6, including joint transportation to Washington, D.C., and gathering in the lobby of a hotel in Virginia beforehand. Allegedly, some of the members also discussed keeping a cache of weapons outside the city.
In January, authorities arrested Thomas Caldwell, 65, described as the group’s leader, and members Jessica Watkins and Donovan Crowl. Allegedly, the three worked to hire other like-minded people to participate in the insurrection.
Among the newly charged were siblings Graydon Young and Laura Steele, who allegedly applied in the weeks before the Capitol attack to join the Florida chapter of the Oath Keepers. And Kelly Meggs allegedly sent private Facebook messages, also in Florida, citing former President Donald Trump as his inspiration for taking part in the uprising.
“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 [expletive]!!” he wrote.
The wife of Kelly Meggs, Connie Meggs, has also been charged with conspiracy.
The married couple, Bennie Parker and Sandra Parker, both from Ohio, allegedly coordinated with Watkins on guns, clothing and accommodation ahead of their trip to Washington, D.C., and during the attack kept in touch with her.
In the Jan. 6 attack, which left five people dead, including Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, authorities arrested and charged more than 200 people for alleged roles. In the days that followed, two more police officers present at the Capitol during the attack died of suicide.
Supporters of Donald Trump breach the Capitol, riot over election results