Jessica Marie Watkins (2nd from L) and Donovan Ray Crowl (Center), both from Ohio, march down the east front steps of the U.S. Capitol with the Oath Keepers militia group among supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump in Washington, January 6, 2021. Both have since been indicted by federal authorities for their roles in the siege on the U.S. Capitol.
Jim Bourg | Reuters
The self-described leader of the Florida chapter of the far-right Oath Keepers extremist group urged followers to travel to Washington with him on Jan. 6 because “Trump said It’s gonna be wild!!!!!!” that day, court documents released Friday revealed.
“He wants us to make it WILD that’s what he’s saying,” Oath Keepers chief Kelly Meggs wrote in a Facebook message.
That message is detailed in a new superseding indictment charging him and five other Oath Keepers associates with crimes related to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot by thousands of Trump supporters.
“He called us all to the Capitol and wants us to make it wild!!! Sir Yes Sir!!!,” Meggs wrote, according to the indictment filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, which accuses the defendants of invading the Capitol complex.
The message referenced a tweet by Trump in late December, when he was engaged in a frantic legal and propaganda effort to overturn the election of Joe Biden as president.
Jan. 6 was the day scheduled for a joint session of Congress, presided over by then-Vice President Mike Pence, to confirm Biden’s win.
“Statistically impossible to have lost the 2020 Election,” Trump tweeted, referring to his baseless claims that widespread ballot fraud had swindled him out of an Electoral College victory.
“Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild,” wrote Trump.
Meggs, in his Facebook message, wrote: “Gentlemen we are heading to DC pack your s***!!”
“[W]e will have at least 50-100 OK there,” Meggs added.
The superseding indictment alleges that Kelly and several other defendants — Connie Meggs, Graydon Young, Laura Steele and Sandra Ruth Parker — wore paramilitary gear and joined with two other previously charged defendants, Jessica Watkins and Donovan Crowl, “in a military-style ‘stack’ formation that marched up the center steps on the east side of the U.S. Capitol, breached the door at the top, and then stormed the building,” on Jan. 6, the U.S. Justice Department said in a press release.
Trump hosted a huge rally outside the White House on Jan. 6, where he and allies including lawyer Rudy Giuliani encouraged supporters to help them fight against Biden’s victory confirmation.
In planning for the trip to Washington, the indictment alleges, Meggs made statements to the effect that his group did not need to be armed for the attack on the Capitol because he expected there would be a “heavy QRF 10 Min out.”
Prosecutors said “QRF” refers to a “‘quick reaction force,’ a term used by law enforcement and the military to refer to an armed unit capable of rapidly responding to developing situations, typically to assist allied units in need of such assistance.”
The indictment says that Young, at around the same time as Meggs’ message, arranged for himself and others to be trained by a Florida company that provides firearms and combat training.
Young, 54, of Englewood, Florida, was arrested on Monday in Tampa, Florida, while Meggs, 52, and Connie Meggs, 59, both of Dunnellon, Florida, were arrested on Wednesday in Ocala, Florida.
The other newly indicted defendants were arrested elsewhere. Steele, 52, of Thomasville, North Carolina, was arrested Wednesday in Greensboro, North Carolina, while Sandra Ruth Parker, 62, and Bennie Alvin Parker, 70, both of Morrow, Ohio, were arrested Thursday.
All six defendants are accused of conspiring to obstruct an official proceeding of Congress, depredation against federal government property, and unlawful entry.
Bennie Parker and another previously charged defendant, Thomas Caldwell, also are charged with obstructing the investigation by allegedly tampering with documents or proceedings by unsending and deleting content on Facebook.
Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives in January, accused of inciting the riot with his false fraud allegations and calls for his supporters to fight. The riot left five people dead, including a Capitol Police officer.
But Trump, who left office on Jan. 20, was acquitted by the Senate last week at his impeachment trial.