US prosecutors: Members of far-right militia behind storming Capitol | NOW

Three members of the far-right militia Oath Keepers were accused by US prosecutors Tuesday of conspiring to attack the Washington parliament building on January 6. For the first time, people have been charged with organizing the assault in which five people were killed.

One of the defendants, Thomas Edward Caldwell, of Virginia, is said to have a high position within the Oath Keepers. His fellow members Jessica Watkins and Donovan Ray Crowl, both from Ohio, have also been charged. The three should be on trial for conspiring to violently storm the Capitol, Justice said.

The charges further include “conspiracy against the United States” and “conspiracy to prevent the government from carrying out its duties”. The federal prosecutor said in Caldwell’s arraignment to the judge on Tuesday that there are “likely” charges as the investigation progresses.

Although the prosecution argues that the evidence is weighty, Caldwell, who is incapacitated for work and previously served in the US Navy, argues that any charge against him is a lie.

Members sent messages to each other about attack

Justice said on Tuesday that it had obtained messages that would have been sent by the defendants among themselves. Those reports suggest that the suspects had extensively planned and prepared the attack.

“We have a good group. We have about 30 to 40 men. We stick together and stick to the plan,” Watkins sent to other militiamen involved in the storm. A federal judge in Virginia said Caldwell should remain in prison for the time being. According to the judge, his behavior on January 6 shows “pure lawlessness and disregard” for the law.

Watkins and Crowl appeared in court in their home state of Ohio on Tuesday. When Watkins was asked by the judge if she understood the charges, she agreed, but said she did not understand why she was being charged.

Crowl laughed when asked if he was aware of the maximum punishment hanging over him. Conspiracy against the United States carries up to 20 years in prison.


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