June 21, 2021

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Prosecutors allege Oath Keepers leader and Proud Boys coordinated before Capitol attack

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Facebook chats made public in the filing by the Justice Department show Kelly Meggs, a leader among the Oath Keepers, discussing his communications with Proud Boys leadership and how he had “orchestrated a plan” with the group.

Criminal conspiracy cases against the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers are among the most aggressive actions from the Justice Department following the violent pro-Trump riot. The new allegations about Meggs and the Proud Boys are the first time prosecutors have publicly linked allegedly violent efforts of the two right-wing extremist groups closely together.

While the messages show communications between members of the groups, prosecutors haven’t alleged an overarching conspiracy before the Capitol attack, and Justice officials so far don’t think the evidence points to that.

In a December 22 Facebook message, Meggs discussed the Oath Keepers having 50 to 100 members in Washington, DC, on January 6, then wrote, “Plus we have made contact with PB and they always have a big group. Force multiplier.”

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Three days later on Christmas, Meggs messaged again with a person he urged to come to DC, providing what prosecutors call a “provisions list” of armor and non-gun weapons to bring, and described in more detail an attack plan with the Proud Boys.

“You can hang with us we will probably be guarding [redacted] or someone during the day but then at night we have orchestrated a plan with the proud boys,” Meggs wrote, according to Facebook messages excerpted in the court record.

“I’ve been communicating with [redacted] the leader. We are going to march with them for awhile then fall back to the back of the crowd and turn off. Then we will have the proud boys get in front of them … we will come in behind antifa and beat the hell out of them.”

The Justice Department said in the filing it now also has credit card records of Meggs paying for four DC-area hotel rooms from January 5 to January 7, and online meeting records that show him holding DC planning sessions.

Prosecutors revealed the new information is part of an argument against releasing Meggs from jail. Meggs has pleaded not guilty and seeks to be released as he awaits trial.

2021-03-24 08:26:54

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