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4 Oath Keepers members found guilty of conspiracy and obstruction, others acquitted in partial Jan. 6 jury verdict


Members of the anti-government Oath Keepers militia group are seen inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 (via DOJ court filing).

Four members of the far-right Oath Keepers militia group have been convicted of plotting to block Congress from certifying the 2020 presidential election results during the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Partial jury verdicts against Laura Steele, Connie Meggs, Williams Isaacs, Michael L. Greene, and elderly Ohio couple Sandra Ruth Parker and Bennie Alvin Parker were announced Monday after a four-week trial and five days of deliberation. Sandra Parker, Laura Steele, William Isaacs, and Connie Meggs — wife of convicted Oath Keepers Florida chapter leader Kelly Meggs — were convicted of all charges against them, including a slew of felonies and one trespassing misdemeanor.

Members of the group were among the hordes of Donald Trump supporters who, angry over Joe Biden’s 2020 electoral win, forced their way into the Capitol as Congress had begun certifying the election results. The pro-Trump mob had overwhelmed police, breaching the building by smashing windows and forcing doors open, as lawmakers and Capitol staff either evacuated or sheltered in place for hours.

The six defendants were accused of conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of an official proceeding, conspiracy to prevent an officer from discharging any duties — all felonies — and entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds, a misdemeanor. The obstruction charge carries a potential 20-year prison sentence, as does the charge of conspiring to obstruct, while the conspiracy charge has a statutory maximum of six years. The trespassing charge carries a potential one-year sentence.

The jury was deadlocked on two charges: one conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding of Congress charge against Bennie Parker, and one obstruction charge against Greene. The two men are also the only two defendants in the group to have been acquitted of all felony charges against them, although they do face up to one year behind bars on the misdemeanor trespassing charge.

Greene and Bennie Parker had also avoided the charge of destruction of government property, which in this case carries a potential 10 years behind bars because, according to the indictment, the damage exceeded more than $1,000. Crowl, Sandra Parker, Steele, and Isaacs were charged with civil disorder or aiding and abetting a civil disorder, a five-year felony, and Steele and Greene were additionally charged with tampering with documents or proceedings or aiding and abetting.

Defendant James Beeks, a one-time theater actor who has made statements indicating adherence to the so-called “sovereign citizens” movement, opted to represent himself in December; the federal docket does not indicate a trial date. In emails to Law&Crime, Beeks has denied being a “sovereign citizen” follower.

U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta ordered jury deliberations to resume Tuesday on the two charges where a verdict had not yet been reached, according to the federal case docket.

Monday’s verdicts mark a mixed victory for the same team of federal prosecutors who pursued seditious conspiracy charges in a separate case against Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes, Florida chapter head Kelly Meggs, and seven other co-defendants: Jessica Watkins, Thomas Caldwell, Kenneth Harrelson, Roberto Minuta, Joseph Hackett, David Moerschel, and Ed Vallejo. They were accused of plotting not only to breach the Capitol building but also preparing a so-called “Quick Reaction Force” – a stash of weapons and firearms that could potentially be ferried from the Virginia hotel where they were stored across the Potomac River in support of the insurrection attempt. Rhodes, Meggs, Minuta, Hackett, Moerschel, and Vallejo were convicted of the seditious conspiracy charge in that case, although all nine defendants were found guilty of other felonies that carry a potential 20-year prison sentence, including obstruction of an official proceeding of Congress.

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