Citing Nancy Pelosi Messages, Judge Keeps Kelly Meggs in Jail
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Oath Keeper’s Chilling Exchange About Nancy Pelosi Keeps Him Behind Bars in Capitol Siege Case

Oath Keepers approach the U.S. Capitol in “stack” formation, prosecutors say in this indictment of nine members. The arrow points to Florida chapter leader Kelly Meggs.

An Oath Keepers leader’s chilling correspondence with another person who allegedly fantasized about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s “head rolling down the front steps” persuaded a federal judge on Friday that he should be kept behind bars pending trial.

Chafing at his incarceration, the militia group’s Florida leader Kelly Meggs urged a federal judge to reverse a previous decision denying his pre-trial release. In a dense, 3-page order, U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta offered many reasons why his prior ruling should not be disturbed.

But the most eye-opening rationale appeared on the third page.

“During the detention hearing of co-defendant Kenneth Harrelson, the government produced evidence that, once inside the Capitol building, defendant and others walked to the north side of the Capitol toward the Senate chamber, only to be turned away by police officers. […] Defendant and others then walked to the south side of the Capitol toward the House chamber. […] He apparently was searching for at least one member of Congress in particular—House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.” (citations omitted)

According to the ruling, an unidentified third party sent a message that he “[w]as hoping to see Nancy’s head rolling down the front steps” to Meggs, who was quoted replying: “We looked forward her.”

The judge noted: “The word ‘forward’ is almost certainly a typo, and what defendant meant to convey is that he and others ‘looked for’ Speaker Pelosi. This new evidence only confirms the court’s original assessment of defendant’s dangerousness, and that his release would endanger the community.”

Prosecutors also alleged that the Oath Keeper leader and his wife Connie Meggs joked about destroying evidence in an exchange in which she cracked about the clothing and gear that he wore to the Capitol: “should have had your gear on hero LOL.” Her husband jocularly responded:“I lost it all in a boating accident.”

Kelly Meggs produced the gear to the government in arguing that his detention order was based on a misunderstanding.

But Judge Mehta found that implausible, finding it more likely that Meggs hid the evidence and produced it when he though it could benefit him.

Defendant’s production of the clothing and gear he wore on January 6 does not alter the court’s conclusion that no combination of conditions would ensure the safety of the community. For one, although defendant suggests that the FBI was negligent in failing to locate the evidence during the search, and that it was “at the residence” all along, […] defendant does not represent where within his residence the clothing and gear were located. The court shares the government’s skepticism that law enforcement just overlooked this key evidence. As the government details, there were 19 law enforcement officers present, and they “were specifically looking for the clothing and items that Kelly and Connie Meggs were wearing on January 6.” […] The officers searched 22 rooms, “a garage, a shed, a travel trailer, and three additional vehicles.” […] It is unlikely that they just missed the Oath Keeper clothing and tactical gear they were actively seeking. The more probable scenario is that the evidence was initially hidden and then produced only when doing so was deemed beneficial to defendant. The court’s concern about defendant’s potential secreting of evidence therefore has not abated. (Citations omitted)

Mehta also cited Meggs’s use of encrypted communications in noted that it would be difficult for the government to detect him, if he were released.

(Screenshot from Oath Keepers indictment)

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Law&Crime's senior investigative reporter and editor Adam Klasfeld has spent more than a decade on the legal beat. Previously a reporter for Courthouse News, he has appeared as a guest on MSNBC, BBC, NPR, PBS, Sky News, and other networks.