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In Capitol Riot Case, 2 Big Firsts

Three Percenters members charged with conspiracy; also first charges for those who helped plan events
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 11, 2021 12:32 PM CDT

(Newser) – Dozens of members of two prominent far-right organizations—the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers—have already been slammed with conspiracy charges surrounding the Capitol riot on Jan. 6. Add a third group onto that pile. Prosecutors filed a federal indictment on Thursday accusing six California men—including four said to have ties to the Three Percenters, an anti-government militia group—of conspiring to impede police or otherwise disrupt Congress' confirmation of the 2020 election results, the Washington Post reports. Charged with conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of an official proceeding, and other unlawful entry charges are Alan Hostetter, 56; Russell Taylor, 40; Erik Warner, 45; Felipe Antonio "Tony" Martinez, 47; Derek Kinnison, 39; and Ronald Mele, 51. Warner is the only one alleged to have entered the building.

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The indictment says the group mapped out their DC trip, with the intent to "fight" and satisfy then-President Trump's call to push back against the election results in Joe Biden's favor, per ABC News. Some of the defendants sported tactical gear, the indictment adds, while at least one carried a knife while grappling with police in front of the Capitol. The top two defendants—Hostetter, an ex-cop turned yoga instructor, and Taylor, a well-off graphic designer—ran a group called the American Phoenix Project, "founded to fight the 'fear-based tyranny' of coronavirus-related restrictions," the New York Times reports. The outlet adds that it's not only the first time that any Three Percenters have been hit with conspiracy charges, but also the first time that charges have been brought against anyone involved with the planning of the event. (Read more Three Percenter stories.)

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