A week before the siege on the U.S. Capitol, several Oath Keepers members allegedly joined a “leadership only” chat on the encrypted messaging platform Signal. The group’s leader and the organizer of the so-called “quick reaction force” logged on along with several others, prosecutors say.
“The Guy Running Around with the Budget AR”
In a new indictment unveiled on Monday, federal prosecutors introduced a Georgia man they identified as another chat participant: 43-year-old Brian Ulrich (a.k.a. “Molon Labe”), who is quoted in court papers planning to bring assault weapons and ammunition to the U.S. Capitol.
According to prosecutors, Ulrich typed in a typo-strewn screed: “Someone can tell me if I’m crazy but I’m planning on having a backpack for regular use and then a separate backpack with my ammo load out with some basics that I can juyst [sic] switch too [sic] is [sic] shit truly [sic] the fan blades…”
In that event, Ulrich added: “I will be the guy running around with the budget AR.”
Along with Florida man David Moerschel (a.k.a. “Hatsy”)—also 43—Ulrich is one of two new alleged Oath Keepers militia members added to a burgeoning, 18-defendant conspiracy case.
Ulrich’s alleged communications, in particular, shed light on the government’s allegations that the extremist group prepared for a “quick reaction force” of armed militants who would ferried across the Potomac River with guns if the events of Jan. 6th took a particularly disastrous turn.
The fifth superseding indictment shows multiple Oath Keepers members running with former President Donald Trump’s Twitter teaser for a “Big protest in D.C. on January 6th,” in a message posted on his since-deactivated account weeks earlier.
“Be there, will be wild!” Trump tweeted.
Kelly Meggs, the Florida chapter leader for the Oath Keepers, appeared to riff on that tagline in an earlier indictment.
“He wants us to make it WILD that’s what he’s saying,” Meggs allegedly wrote in a Facebook post on Dec. 22, according to prosecutors.
Prosecutor record Ulrich aping the same rhetoric: “The more patriots the merrier ‘gonna be wild,'” Ulrich allegedly wrote in the same Dec. 31 “leadership only” chat where he was quoted talking about AR and ammo.
His quotation marks are in original.
“On Standby With an Arsenal”
The quoted communications indicate that plans to arrive at the U.S. Capitol armed shifted on New Year’s Eve.
“You guys Gonna carry?” Meggs alleged asked, before answering: “Ok we aren’t either, we have a heavy QRF 10 Min out though.”
Short for quick reaction force, a QRF has previously been described in court papers as Oath Keepers members waiting on standby with guns in a hotel across the river.
Prosecutors quote another member, not identified in the latest indictment, as sending an encrypted text to Roger Stone’s reported security guard Joshua James: “i have friends not far from DC with a lot of weapons and ammo if you get un [sic] trouble i ca. [sic] Coordinate help.”
“That might be helpful, but we have a shitload of QRF on standby with an arsenal,” James replied, according to prosecutors.
According to the indictment, James sent a still-not-publicly-identified “PERSON NINETEEN” a question over Signal: “Do we have a farm location for weapons?”
“Not that I am aware of yet,” Person Nineteen is quoted responded. “If nothing else, my hotel in VA and [sic] has secured underground parking. About 15-20 minutes outside DC, less if you really don’t care about speed limits… would be great if we had someone with an enclosed truck type vehicle and had a quick response unit just outside the city.”
“I agree,” James, who was previously indicted, allegedly replied.
“Patriots Are Storming the Capitol Building”
Prosecutors claim this planning continued onto New Year’s Day, when Ulrich messaged Joshua James on Signal and asked, “Hey we told to bring guns and maybe stage them in VA?? But you are showing hotels in DC for Alabama. Are we bring[ing] guns or no[.] If so how will that work?”
Responding that he was “working on a Farm location,” James added: “Some are bringing long rifles some sidearms…I’m bringing sidearm.”
Ulrich traveled to Washington on Jan. 4 and stayed at the Mayflower Hotel, prosecutors say.
Prosecutors also place Ulrich among the group of Oath Keepers who rode golf carts toward the Capitol, swerving around law enforcement. One of the men, Mark Grods, pleaded guilty to the charges against him and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.
Another reported Roger Stone guard named Roberto Minuta, also involved in the alleged golf cart caper, is quoted launching into a monologue on his ride.
“Patriots are storming the Capitol building; there’s violence against patriots by the D.C. Police; so we’re en route in a grand theft auto golf cart to the Capitol building right now… it’s going down, guys; it’s literally going down right now Patriots storming the Capitol building… fucking war inthe streets right now… word is they got in the building . . . let’s go.”
Stone, the self-described “dirty trickster” pardoned by Trump, has not been accused of wrongdoing in connection with Jan. 6th.
Prosecutors hit Ulrich and Moerschel with a litany of charges, including conspiracy, obstruction of an official proceeding and aiding and abetting, and entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds. Moerschel faces an additional count of destruction of government property and aiding and abetting.
Read the superseding indictment below:
(Photo via DOJ)
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