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 stated in court 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 new disclosure in regards to the hyperlinks between two extremist teams was contained in a movement filed late Thursday night time by prosecutors in search of 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 personal Facebook messages by which he instructed 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 called us all to Capitol and wants us to make it wild!!!” Mr. Meggs wrote on Dec 22. “Sir yes Sir!!! Gentlemen we are heading to DC.”
That identical day, prosecutors say, Mr. Meggs wrote to an unknown correspondent that he had just lately made contact with the Proud Boys who, in his phrases, might act as a “force 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 could be serving as safety guards through the days surrounding the pro-Trump occasion — a possible reference to defending Mr. Trump’s previous pal and former adviser Roger J. Stone Jr. — however had “orchestrated a plan with the proud boys” at night time.
According to the messages, Mr. Meggs had already been in contact with a pacesetter 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 will have the proud boys get in front of them,” Mr. Meggs wrote. “The cops will get between antifa and proud boys. We will come in behind antifa and beat the hell out of them.”
Unlike at earlier pro-Trump occasions, nevertheless, there have been no main conflicts on Jan. 6 between right- and left-wing activists. Lawyers for some of the opposite 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 a substitute preparing for potential violence from leftists. Lawyers for some Proud Boys charged in reference to the riot have made comparable arguments in filings and in court docket.
By the day after Christmas, nevertheless, Mr. Meggs appeared to have deserted all dialogue of antifa and was targeted on overturning the outcomes of the election. On Dec. 26, the brand new court docket papers say, he wrote a message saying that “Trumps staying in” and deliberate to make use of the “emergency broadcast system on cellphones” to invoke the Insurrection Act, successfully establishing martial legislation.
“Wait for the 6th,” Mr. Meggs wrote, “when we are all in DC to insurrection.”
Mr. Meggs’s lawyer, David A. Wilson, declined to touch upon the submitting. Enrique Tarrio, the chief of the Proud Boys, stated he didn’t know Mr. Meggs and didn’t imagine the reference within the Facebook message was to him.
From the beginning of the investigation, brokers and prosecutors have targeted on the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, if for no different purpose than the 2 teams each despatched giant contingents of members to the Capitol. The organizations have a historical past of working and showing collectively at right-wing road occasions courting to the early days of the Trump administration.
This week, The New York Times printed an article saying that federal prosecutors have been weighing sedition fees in opposition to some of 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 just lately was main the riot inquiry, gave to “60 Minutes” by which he stated that proof obtained by the federal government investigators virtually definitely meets the bar wanted to file sedition fees.
After the interview was aired and the article appeared, a Justice Department official instructed the federal decide overseeing the Oath Keepers case that Mr. Sherwin had been referred to the division’s inside watchdog workplace for investigation.
Even 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 going through fees together with conspiracy to withstand legislation enforcement officers and disrupt the workings of the federal government.