Three reputed members of the right-wing group the Oath Keepers have been indicted for allegedly coordinating their assault on the US Capitol, federal prosecutors announced.
The three — two of them also Ohio militia members — are accused of plotting against the government as early as November and coordinating attacks on the Capitol during the Jan. 6 siege of the historic building, the US Attorney’s Office in Washington, DC, said in a press release Wednesday.
“It begins for real Jan 5 and Jan 6 on Washington D.C. when we mobilize in the streets,” suspect Thomas Caldwell, 65, allegedly posted on social media Jan. 2.
“Let them try to certify some crud on capitol hill with a million or more patriots in the streets,” Caldwell wrote. “This kettle is set to boil.”
Prosecutors said Caldwell, of Clarke County, Virginia, Jessica Marie Watkins, 38, and Donovan Ray Crowl, 50, both of Champaign County, Ohio, were part of the mob that breached the US Capitol to try to halt Congressional certification of the presidential election results.
Former President Donald Trump, who spoke at a rally nearby earlier in the day, repeatedly claimed that his election loss to President Biden was rigged.
Prosecutors said the trio posted numerous accounts of their assault on the building, both on Jan. 6 and in the days after.
“Yeah. We stormed the Capitol today,” Watkins allegedly posted on Facebook. “Teargassed, the whole 9. Pushed our way into the Rotunda. Made it into the Senate even. The news is lying (even Fox) about the Historical Events we created today.”
The three also boasted about their escapades on the right-wing message app Parler.
The FBI said Watkins and Crowl claim to be members of the Ohio State Regular Militia, with Watkins claiming on social media that she is the group’s commanding officer.
According to the federal indictment, the Oath Keepers are a loosely organized collection of militia members “who believe the federal government has been co-opted by a shadowy conspiracy that is trying to strip American citizens of their rights.”
“Though the Oath Keepers will accept anyone as members, what differentiates them from other anti-government groups is their explicit focus on recruiting current and former military, law enforcement, and first-responder personnel,” the indictment said.
Photo of an Oath Keepers member from the criminal complaint against Thomas Edward Caldwell, a reputed Oath Keepers commander.
The group’s name comes from the oath military and law enforcement personnel take to enforce the US Constitution.
Caldwell, Watkins and Crowl are charged with conspiracy, obstruction of an official proceeding, and destruction of government property.
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