Leaders of the Oath Keepers militia and the far-right group the Proud Boys have been in communication within the weeks earlier than the Capitol riot and seem to have coordinated some plans for the day of the assault, prosecutors mentioned in court docket papers.
The proof introduced within the papers successfully connects the 2 most outstanding targets of the federal authorities’s huge investigation into the storming of the Capitol on Jan. 6.
The brand new disclosure in regards to the hyperlinks between two extremist teams was contained in a movement filed late Thursday evening by prosecutors searching for to maintain Kelly Meggs, the chief of the Florida chapter of the Oath Keepers, in jail earlier than his trial. Prosecutors cited a number of of Mr. Meggs’s non-public Fb messages wherein he advised others that as many as 100 Oath Keepers deliberate to be in Washington for a rally in January answering a name by President Donald J. Trump.
“He known as us all to Capitol and desires us to make it wild!!!” Mr. Meggs wrote on Dec 22. “Sir sure Sir!!! Gents we’re heading to DC.”
That very same day, prosecutors say, Mr. Meggs wrote to an unknown correspondent that he had lately made contact with the Proud Boys who, in his phrases, may act as a “pressure multiplier.” In a separate message, Mr. Meggs famous that he had “organized an alliance” among the many Oath Keepers, the Proud Boys and the Florida chapter of the Three Percenters, a radical gun rights motion that takes its title from the supposed three p.c of the U.S. colonial inhabitants that stood as much as the British.
On Christmas Day, court docket papers say, Mr. Meggs wrote that his group of Oath Keepers can be serving as safety guards throughout the days surrounding the pro-Trump occasion — a possible reference to defending Mr. Trump’s previous buddy and former adviser Roger J. Stone Jr. — however had “orchestrated a plan with the proud boys” at evening.
In keeping with the messages, Mr. Meggs had already been in contact with a frontrunner of the Proud Boys whose title was redacted within the papers. Apparently anticipating a battle with the antifascist activists often known as antifa, the 2 males had devised a plan to catch their left-wing adversaries in a sort of pincer transfer on the streets. “We may have the proud boys get in entrance of them,” Mr. Meggs wrote. “The cops will get between antifa and proud boys. We’ll are available behind antifa and beat the hell out of them.”
Not like at earlier pro-Trump occasions, nonetheless, there have been no main conflicts on Jan. 6 between right- and left-wing activists. Attorneys for among the different 9 Oath Keepers charged with Mr. Meggs in a conspiracy to disrupt the certification of the presidential election have nonetheless argued in their very own court docket papers that they weren’t getting ready for an offensive assault on the Capitol, however have been as an alternative preparing for potential violence from leftists. Attorneys for some Proud Boys charged in reference to the riot have made related arguments in filings and in court docket.
By the day after Christmas, nonetheless, Mr. Meggs appeared to have deserted all dialogue of antifa and was centered on overturning the outcomes of the election. On Dec. 26, the brand new court docket papers say, he wrote a message asserting that “Trumps staying in” and deliberate to make use of the “emergency broadcast system on cellphones” to invoke the Rebel Act, successfully establishing martial legislation.
“Anticipate the sixth,” Mr. Meggs wrote, “once we are all in DC to revolt.”
Mr. Meggs’s lawyer, David A. Wilson, declined to touch upon the submitting. Enrique Tarrio, the chief of the Proud Boys, mentioned he didn’t know Mr. Meggs and didn’t imagine the reference within the Fb message was to him.
From the beginning of the investigation, brokers and prosecutors have centered on the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, if for no different motive than the 2 teams each despatched massive contingents of members to the Capitol. The organizations have a historical past of working and showing collectively at right-wing avenue occasions courting to the early days of the Trump administration.
This week, The New York Instances revealed an article saying that federal prosecutors have been weighing sedition costs in opposition to among the Oath Keepers arrested in reference to the Capitol assault — a uncommon crime that has not been efficiently prosecuted in additional than 20 years. The article got here on the heels of an uncommon interview that Michael R. Sherwin, the prosecutor who till lately was main the riot inquiry, gave to “60 Minutes” wherein he mentioned that proof obtained by the federal government investigators virtually actually meets the bar wanted to file sedition costs.
After the interview was aired and the article appeared, a Justice Division official advised the federal decide overseeing the Oath Keepers case that Mr. Sherwin had been referred to the division’s inner watchdog workplace for investigation.
Although the submitting within the Meggs case was the primary time that investigators have revealed proof connecting the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, there isn’t any indication that the federal government intends to merge the separate inquiries. Fifteen members of the Proud Boys have been recognized by title in court docket filings and are dealing with costs together with conspiracy to withstand legislation enforcement officers and disrupt the workings of the federal government.