Kelly Meggs of Dunnellon, Florida, is 53 years old and is a former manager of a car dealership in Lake City, Florida. In group chats with fellow Oath Keepers, Meggs went by the handle “Gator 1” and referred to himself as the leader of the Florida chapter of the Oath Keepers.
Meggs went to a pro-Trump ‘Stop the Steal’ rally in D.C. on Jan. 5, joining several other Oath Keepers as well as members of the separate but equally extreme Proud Boys group. Meggs was photographed wearing a ballistic vest and other tactical gear.
On Jan. 6, prosecutors say Meggs was one of several Oath Keepers, including co-defendants Watkins and Harrelson, who forced their way into the Capitol by making a “stack formation” to barrel through already outnumbered police.
After his arrest in February, Meggs sought pretrial release. His request was reasonable, he argued, because he had no military training and had never undergone any paramilitary training or weapons training.
During an interview with the FBI, he told agents he and fellow Oath Keepers only talked about taking weapons training but “never actually did it.”
His social media posts suggested otherwise. Photos found online by BuzzFeed show Meggs and his wife Connie—who is facing separate charges related to Jan. 6—attended fire weapons training in Florida in September 2020.
Prosecutors say Meggs used his credit card to reserve the hotel rooms where the “quick reaction force” teams were established in Virginia.
Importantly, feds say text messages found on seized devices show Meggs discussing plans for the group to provide security to Trump allies like Roger Stone, Michael Flynn, and Alex Jones on Jan. 5 and Jan. 6. The group also discussed providing security to ‘Stop the Steal’ founder Ali Alexander. One of the Oath Keepers who was charged alongside Meggs and has pleaded guilty, Joshua James, admitted to providing security for Stone.
Text Messages Oath Keepers by Daily Kos on Scribd
The Justice Department says the text messages show there was a concerted effort to align Oath Keepers and Proud Boys and other extremist groups like the Three Percenters together ahead of Jan. 6.
“I just called him, no answer,” Meggs wrote of Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio on Jan. 4, 2021. Meggs also told an Oath Keeper that he visited Roger Stone’s house multiple times.
Like his co-defendants, Meggs entered a not guilty plea. He claims that he was inside the Capitol on Jan. 6 trying to “assist” police officers who were being attacked, including U.S. Capitol Police officer Harry Dunn. Dunn’s attorney, Mark Zaid, called that assessment “beyond absurd.”
Jessica Watkins of Woodstock, Ohio, has described herself as the leader and commanding officer of the Ohio State Regular Militia. Prosecutors allege the 39-year-old transwoman served as an Oath Keepers captain who was integral to the recruiting and planning of the Capitol attack. The Ohio State Regular Militia is believed to be an offshoot of the Oath Keepers, and according to prosecutors, Watkins was a dues-paying member.
Watkins has said she served in the U.S. Army as a ranger and underwent airborne training. She was deployed to Afghanistan from 2001 to 2003 and later, took work as a first responder in North Carolina. She later owned a bar in Ohio known as The Jolly Roger that has since closed.
Watkins was one of several Oath Keepers that joined the stack moving up the Capitol steps.
Prosecutors say Watkins posted numerous photos of herself from Jan. 6 in her Oath Keepers garb on the right-wing social media platform Parler. In one post, she featured a picture of herself proclaiming: “Me before forcing entry into the Capitol building.” In another post, she attached a video from Jan. 6 and wrote: “Yeah. We Stormed the Capitol. Teargassed, the whole 9. Pushed our way into the rotunda. Made it into the Senate even. The news is lying (even Fox) about the Historical Events we created today.” [Emphasis original]
When someone challenged her claim online and asked how she got in, Watkins replied: “Nope. Forced. Like Rugby. We entered through the back door of the Capitol.”
Apparently proud of her efforts to a point, Watkins told the Ohio Capital-Journal a week after the Capitol attack: “To me, it was the most beautiful thing I ever saw until we started hearing the glass smash. That’s when we knew things had gotten really bad.” Watkins insisted she did not destroy any property on Jan. 6 but that her actions were incited by police.
Prosecutors say seized chat logs from the encrypted walkie-talkie app Zello, show Watkins was a key leader on Jan. 6 during the attack. She told those in the chat, “We have a good group. We have about 30-40 of us. We are sticking together and sticking to the plan.”
Watkins tried to distance herself from the Oath Keepers immediately after her arrest when she appeared in court, but prosecutors said her correspondence after the attack showed a lack of remorse and a deluded perception of her actions. Oath Keepers, Watkins said in one message, “rescued cops” and “saved lives” on Jan. 6. More than a hundred police officers were wounded during the insurrection, and the final police death toll included five officers. Four civilians died as well. One of the people killed, Roseanne Boyland, was crushed in a stampede of rioters.
Thomas Caldwell is a 67-year-old veteran of the U.S. Navy and former section chief for the FBI. The Berryville, Virginia resident previously held Top Secret security clearance and has said he’s done consulting work for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, the Coast Guard, and U.S. Army Personnel Command.
Caldwell has maintained that he is not a member of the Oath Keepers, and on the heels of his arrest, he claimed that he never entered the Capitol and was unsure what constituted Capitol grounds. But prosecutors allege that the former FBI section chief posted images from inside the Capitol on Facebook while boasting of breaching it.
“Us storming the castle. Please share. [My wife] Sharon is right with me! I am such an instigator!" Caldwell wrote on Jan. 7. "She was ready for it man! Didn't even mind the tear gas."
Caldwell drove from his home in rural Virginia and stayed at the hotel where Oath Keepers established their “quick reaction force” teams. On Jan. 6, he attended Trump’s rally at the Ellipse and marched with the mob down to the Capitol. In an appearance on a podcast last spring, per The Washington Post, Caldwell said he felt it was fine for him to enter “if everybody’s doing it” and since “nobody” told him not to.
Texts unearthed by prosecutors show Caldwell allegedly boasting: “If we’d had guns I guarantee we would have killed 100 politicians. They ran off and were spirited away through their underground tunnels like the rats they were.”
Caldwell was arrested two weeks after the Capitol assault and has defended his statements as bluster only. He’s denied any involvement with the Oath Keepers organization officially.
Caldwell was a Republican delegate for his Virginia district in 2020 and comes from a long line of veterans. He was disabled while serving in the Navy in 1995. His introduction to Rhodes reportedly began after Rhodes heard Caldwell speak at a rally in Virginia. He allegedly invited Oath Keepers to his farm in the Shenandoah Valley, including Watkins, and in November, prosecutors say texts show Caldwell floating ideas about how to organize the “quick reaction force” teams with “snipers and stallers.”
“This is a good location and would allow us to hunt at night if we wanted to. I don’t know if [Rhodes] has even gotten out his call to arms, but it’s a little friggin late. This is one we are doing on our own. We will link up with the North Carolina crew,” he allegedly wrote in a text less than a week before the insurrection.
Other messages prosecutors point to include those where Caldwell allegedly said, “We are surging forward. Doors breached.” Caldwell told The Washington Post that message was merely narration for those who were not at the Capitol but watching from afar.
U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta agreed to release Caldwell from prison ahead of trial due to health concerns as well as what he deemed to be murky evidence about whether Caldwell specifically had premeditated plans to breach police barriers on Jan. 6.
Kenneth Harrelson of Titusville, Florida, was one of several Oath Keepers who prosecutors say helped guide one of two military stack formations to get into the Capitol on Jan. 6 and stop the peaceful transfer of power.
Surveillance footage shows the 42-year-old man and veteran of the U.S. Army interacting with Oath Keepers in the stack as he stood at a high position on the Capitol stairs and called out to his allies below him.
Feds say Harrelson was responsible for forming a chapter of the Florida Oath Keepers with co-defendant Kelly Meggs and in chat logs seized by the Department of Justice, he is referred to as “Gator 6.” Other texts show him listed as a “ground team lead” for one of the Oath Keeper stacks that breached the Capitol.
Harrelson was part of the plan to stop the transfer of power from as far back as Nov. 9, 2020, when, according to U.S attorneys, Rhodes hosted a private GoTo meeting where he proceeded to instruct the group on how it could achieve its goal by force. Phone records later recovered by the FBI show Harrelson and Meggs spoke in December and again, two days before the insurrection by phone. According to an affidavit from the FBI, a device that appeared to belong to Harrelson contained records of more than two dozen meetings held with Oath Keepers from September 2020 to just three days before the insurrection.
In his indictment, Harrelson is alleged to have helped members of the Oath Keepers’ “quick reaction force” team set up at the hotel by providing them with firearms and gear.
When he got inside the Capitol, he allegedly pushed right past a police officer trying to fend the mob off and moved into the rotunda, his hand resting on the back of an Oath Keeper in front of him so they could maneuver through the crowd.
Prosecutors say the group followed tightly together and searched for Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi but were unable to find her.
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