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Feds Charge Militia Members With Planning Capitol Attack

Newser — Rob Quinn

Prosecutors are now going after alleged organizers of the Capitol attack as well as participants. A criminal complaint Tuesday accused three alleged members of the far-right Oath Keepers of conspiring against the United States, among other offenses, reports Reuters.

Prosecutors say Thomas Caldwell, a 65-year-old Navy veteran who allegedly has a leadership role in the group, helped coordinate a group of at least eight people who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6.

Prosecutors say that once Caldwell announced he was inside, militia members sent and received messages that suggested they were searching for lawmakers, CNN reports. "All members are in the tunnels under capital seal them in. Turn on gas," said one message quoted in the complaint.



"Tom all legislators are down in the Tunnels 3floors down," another message said. "Go through back house chamber doors facing N left down hallway down steps." Co-defendants Jessia Watkins and Donovan Crowl, both military veterans, are members of an Ohio militia affiliated with the Oath Keepers.

Court documents state that Watkins communicated with other extremists via walkie-talkie when inside the Capitol, saying, "We have about 30-40 of us. We are sticking together and sticking to the plan." Prosecutors say more charges are likely, including seditious conspiracy.

"This is the first step toward identifying and understanding that there was some type of concerted conspiracy here," a senior official with the US attorney’s office for Washington DC tells the Washington Post.

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