Of the most repeated lines of the failed effort to convict former President Donald Trump of inciting an insurrection, none passed through the impeachment managers’ lips as often as the ex-commander in chief’s tweet weeks before the march to the U.S. Capitol.
“Big protest in D.C. on January 6th,” Trump wrote on Dec. 19. “Be there, will be wild!”
According to an indictment of nine Oath Keepers released on Friday, the self-described leader of the militia’s Florida chapter understood those lines in no uncertain terms.
“Trump said It’s gonna be wild!!!!!!! It’s gonna be wild!!!!!!! He wants us to make it WILD that’s what he’s saying,” Kelly Meggs allegedly wrote in a Facebook post on Dec. 22. “He called us all to the Capitol and wants us to make it wild!!! Sir Yes Sir!!! Gentlemen we are heading to DC pack your s***!!”
His wife Connie Meggs is also indicted among the nine Oath Keepers who went to Washington, D.C.
Together with seven other militia members, prosecutors say, the couple “prepared themselves for battle before heading to the Capitol by equipping themselves with communication devices and donning reinforced vests, helmets, and goggles.”
Law&Crime previously reported on the cases of five of their accused confederates—Thomas E. Caldwell, Jessica Watkins, Donovan Crowl, Sarah Parker, and Bennie Parker. The others whom a grand jury indicted for conspiracy are Meggs’s fellow Floridian Graydon Young, 54, and Laura Steele, a 52-year-old from North Carolina.
A far-right paramilitary organization, the Oath Keepers enroll current and former military, police, and first responders into their militia, which has been in the sightlines of counterextremism watchdogs like the Anti-Defamation League for their habit of showing up at scenes of civil unrest in battle fatigues. Court papers describe the group’s members walking in stacked formation and communicating through hand signals and Zello, an app emulating walkie-talkies over cell phones that became a regular point of contact on the day of the Capitol siege.
More indictments of Oath Keepers may be in the making, with court papers still alluding to unnamed members like “PERSON ONE,” “PERSON TWO,” and “PERSON THREE,” with the first being the group’s leader.
Giving a glimpse at the group’s ranks inside the riot, Kelly Meggs anticipated significant attendance: “”Nice, we will have at least 50-100 OK there,” he wrote on Dec. 22, in what prosecutors believe to be an abbreviation for “Oath Keepers.”
Christmas provided no respite for Meggs’s preparations, prosecutors say, showing Facebook message of the militant making a list—and perhaps, checking it twice.
“Dc is no guns,” he allegedly wrote. “So mace and gas masks, some batons. If you have armor that’s good.”
His associate Young, who had joined the group that month, reached out to a Florida company specializing in firearms and combat a day later, prosecutors say.
“l trained with you not long ago. Since then I have joined Oath Keepers,” Young is quoted telling the company.
“I recommended your training to the team. To that effect, four of us would like to train with you, specifically in your UTM rifle class,” he added, abbreviating ultimate training munitions.
The grand jury charged all nine militia members with four counts, starting iwth conspiring to commit an offense against the United States, with the purpose of corruptly obstructing, influencing, or impeding an official proceeding. Young, who allegedly deleted his Facebook account, has been charged with tampering with documents.
Read the indictment below:
(Screenshot from Oath Keepers indictment)
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