Oath Keepers Member Suggested Coordination With Other Militia Groups Before Capitol Attack

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 06: Protesters gather storm the Capitol and halt a joint session of the 117th Congress on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 06: Protesters gather storm the Capitol and halt a joint session of the 117th Congress on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
March 24, 2021 12:51 p.m.

A member of the Oath Keepers militia gave substantial hints that he coordinated with other militia groups, such as the Proud Boys, ahead of then-President Trump’s incitement of the mob behind the deadly Capitol insurrection earlier this year, according to a new DOJ filing.

In the DOJ memorandum filed Wednesday in response to the defendant’s renewed request for pretrial release, prosecutors allege that Kelly Meggs — the Florida leader of the Oath Keepers who faces charges with nine others for conspiring to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s electoral victory — suggested in Facebook messages that he had been in repeated contact with Proud Boys leadership.

Prosecutors obtained private messages sent by Meggs that reveal the key Oath Keepers member’s “extensive planning and financing” ahead of the Capitol insurrection. Meggs claimed that he outlined a strategy to combat what he viewed as potential violence from antifa on the day of the joint session of Congress ratifying Joe Biden’s electoral victory.

“This week I organized an alliance between Oath Keepers, Florida 3%ers, and Proud Boys,” Meggs wrote in a Dec. 19 message to an associate through Facebook Messenger. “We have decided to work together and shut this shit down.”

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A few days later, Meggs wrote in another Facebook message that he planned to head to the Capitol on Jan. 6 because he supposedly wanted to follow Trump’s marching orders to overturn the election results.

“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 wrote in Facebook messages on Dec. 22. “He called us all to the Capitol and wants us to make it wild!!!”

From Dec. 22 to 25 Meggs detailed plans to coordinate with the Proud Boys in the event that they encountered antifa, which included providing a list of provisions such as mace and gas masks.

“We’re going to march with them for awhile then fall to the back of the crowd and turn off. Then we will have the Proud Boys get in front of them the cops will get between antifa and Proud Boys. We will come in behind antifa and beat the hell out of them,” Meggs wrote on Dec. 25.

The Justice Department’s filing on Meggs is the first by prosecutors to suggest a larger coordination effort among various extremist groups in anticipation of the Capitol attack earlier this year. Although attorneys for Oath Keepers members argue in court papers that the group solely focused on confrontation with antifa, prosecutors revealed messages from Oath Keepers such as Meggs vowing to “reload” even on the day of the Capitol insurrection.

Last week, prosecutors indicted four Proud Boys leaders for coordinating plans to divide into small groups in anticipation of marching on the Capitol on Jan. 6.

In an interview on CBS’ “60 Minutes” that aired Sunday night, Michael Sherwin, who served as the acting U.S. attorney for D.C. and headed up the Justice Department’s investigation of the Capitol insurrection, said that there is evidence that would prove “seditious conspiracy” against some of the insurrectionists.

Unnamed Justice Department officials told the New York Times in a report published Monday that they view the charge of “seditious conspiracy,” which is a rarely used charge indicating an intent to overthrow the government, would likely target members of the Oath Keepers.

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