The release of a fifth superseding indictment against the Oath Keepers involved in the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection—adding two more men, one from Georgia and another from Florida, to what is now a total of 16 co-conspirators in the case, as well as further charges against one of the women already indicted—is stark testament to how the evidence against the Patriot organization’s members for their key role in the attack on Congress that day has been mounting steadily, doubtlessly aided by the participants who have turned state’s evidence.
That mountain of evidence also will affect the case’s timeline: It appears that the earliest the case involving these 16 codefendants will proceed to trial will be sometime in January 2022, according to their attorneys at a hearing before U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta on Tuesday. They say that length of time is necessary to comb through the massive piles of evidence and prepare for trial.
The two men added to the indictment were David Moerschel, 43, of Punta Gorda, Florida, and Brian Ulrich, 43, of Guyton, Georgia. Both men participated in different components of the Oath Keepers’ coordinated assault on the Capitol.
Moerschel had been previously arrested in July on charges of obstruction of Congress, conspiracy, and unlawful entry, but that case now will be subsumed as part of the larger Oath Keepers conspiracy case. The list of charges against him centers around his involvement in the planning for the assault, and then his participation in the group’s tactical “stack” formation on the steps of the Capitol that played a key role in the building being breached.
The only new face among the list of co-conspirators was Ulrich’s since he had not been previously charged. He was among the Oath Keepers who careered wildly through Washington streets from the Ellipse to the Capitol in golf carts, and then participated in the breach of the building on its east side.
Ulrich, the indictment alleges, told his co-conspirators that he intended to bring a backpack full of ammunition.
“The more patriots the merrier ‘gonna be wild,’” he wrote, later adding:
Someone can tell me if I’m crazy but I’m planning on having a backpack for regular use and then a separate backpack with my ammo load out with some basics I can juyst switch too is shit truly the fan blades. … I will be the guy running around with a budget AR.
Both men, it states, participated heavily in pre-planning for the assault. Moerschel attended a number of meetings planning for Jan. 6, including a GoToMeeting titled “florida dc op planning chat” on Dec. 31, 2020, and “dc planning call” on Jan. 3. He also allegedly joined an invitation-only encrypted Signal group message titled “OK FL DC OP Jan 6” for communicating their plans. Likewise, Ulrich participated in a Signal group message titled “DC OP: Jan 6 21,” which is where he informed them of his backpack plans.
The indictment also added charges for another previously arrested defendant, Laura Steele, 52, of Thomasville, North Carolina, who now faces one count of civil disorder and tampering with documents, and aiding and abetting for having destroyed evidence after the event.
On the day after the insurrection, Steele allegedly used the backyard burn-pit of her brother, Graydon Young, to burn the clothing they wore into the Capitol and other evidence of their involvement. Young is one of several Oath Keepers who has turned state’s evidence in the case.
As Marcy Wheeler observes, Young’s plea bargain in that case negated a charge of damaging government property, which carried a potential terrorism enhancement upon conviction. In exchange, he wound up having to provide evidence and testimony against his own sister. As a result, she is now included in all the counts involving civil disorder charges in the new indictment.
“Thanksgiving is going to be uncomfortable this year,” quipped Wheeler.