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A man accused of being a leader of a paramilitary group called the Oath Keepers was in contact with similar groups, including the Proud Boys, as early as mid-December to plan for potentially violent action in Washington on Jan. 6, according to a newly filed court document.
It was the first suggestion by the government that members of extremist groups were in touch with one another before arriving in Washington.
The allegation came in a Department of Justice memo opposing the pretrial release of Kelly Meggs of Florida. Prosecutors said he is one of 10 members of the Oath Keepers who played a leading role in the Capitol assault. Investigators have repeatedly said that members of both groups were among those who first breached the police lines around the Capitol and who first smashed their way into the building.
In the latest submission, prosecutors said Meggs “plotted with his co-conspirators to stop the certification of the Electoral College vote, prepared to use violence if necessary, and stormed the Capitol.”
On Dec. 19, the court filing said, Meggs posted a message on Facebook saying, “This week I organized an alliance between Oath Keepers, Florida 3%ers, and Proud Boys. We have decided to work together and shut this s— down.”
Three days later, he posted “Contact with PB and they always have a big group. Force multiplier,” the government said.
Between Dec. 12 and Jan. 4, prosecutors said, Meggs organized and participated in approximately 10 online discussions on the videoconference platform GoToMeeting that were affiliated with the Oath Keepers. He led and planned the group’s activities and paid for two hotel rooms in Washington, the court filing said.
The document does not allege that the groups formulated a plan to attack the Capitol before arriving in Washington. Asked during a “60 Minutes” interview last week if there was a premeditated plan to breach the Capitol, the man who supervised the investigation, Michael Sherwin, said, “That’s what we’re trying to determine right now.”
“It’s gonna be wild!!!! It’s gonna be wild!!!!” Meggs wrote in a Facebook message, saying then-President Donald Trump “wants us to make it WILD that’s what he’s saying. He called us all to the Capitol and wants us to make it wild !!! … Gentleman we are heading to DC pack your s— !!”
In another Facebook message Dec. 25, Meggs said he and other Oath Keepers would probably be guarding someone during the day, the court document said. The name is blacked out, but some Oath Keepers were providing security for Roger Stone, who had been an adviser to Trump.
He also listed provisions that people would need in Washington, including mace, gas masks, batons and armor.
In that message, Meggs appeared to contemplate some kind of street protest action, saying the Oath Keepers would march with the Proud Boys, “then fall back to the back of the crowd and turn off,” prepared to engage with any members of antifa.
In another Facebook message, Meggs predicted that Trump would not resign. “Trumps staying in, he’s gonna use the emergency broadcast system on cell phones to broadcast to the American people. Then he will claim the insurrection act.”
But by the afternoon of Jan. 6, prosecutors said, Meggs and other Oath Keepers rushed into the Capitol in a military style formation.