New Arrests Tied to Oath Keepers: 'Trump Said It's Gonna Be Wild!'

3 with links to far-right group were charged last month; now, 6 more
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 20, 2021 5:30 AM CST
6 With Ties to Oath Keepers Arrested for Capitol Riot
In this Jan. 6, 2021, file photo, violent protesters storm the Capitol in Washington, DC.   (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

Six more people linked to the far-right Oath Keepers militia group have been indicted on charges that they planned and coordinated with one another in the attack on the US Capitol, authorities said Friday. The case against those affiliated with the Oath Keepers is the largest conspiracy case brought by the Justice Department so far in the Jan. 6 insurrection. The six new people arrested this week are indicted alongside three others who were charged last month with plotting to undo President Biden's victory. The new arrests include an Ohio couple, Sandra and Bennie Parker. The others facing charges are: Graydon Young of Englewood, Fla.; his sister, Laura Steele of Thomasville, NC; and Kelly Meggs and his wife, Connie Meggs, of Dunnellon, Fla., per the AP. To date, federal charges have been filed in more than 200 cases involving the attack by a mob of supporters of former President Trump, including many with ties to far-right groups like the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys.

Authorities say the defendants prepared for weeks before the attack, attended training sessions, and recruited others. They donned tactical vests and helmets, moved in an organized fashion as they advanced on the Capitol, and communicated with one another during the siege, prosecutors say. Several defendants formed a "stack" formation used by military infantrymen, marching the Capitol steps with their hand on the shoulder of the person in front of them, authorities say. They note Bennie Parker was in contact with an Oath Keepers member arrested last month, Jessica Watkins, leading up to the trip to DC, discussing things like uniforms and gear they'd bring. Kelly Meggs, who authorities say is the leader of the Florida chapter of the Oath Keepers, wrote in a Facebook message in December, per court documents: "Trump said 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!!!"

(Read more Oath Keepers stories.)

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