The U.S. Department of Justice announced Friday, February 19, 2021 that Meggs was indicted in the riots, along with eight other people that belong to the Oath Keepers. Meggs, 52, was arrested in Ocala, Florida following the filing of a superseding indictment. Also charged were Graydon Young, 54, of Englewood, Florida, Kelly Meggs’ wife, Connie Meggs, 59, of Dunnellon, Florida, Laura Steele, 52, of Thomasville, North Carolina, Sandra Ruth Parker, 62, and Bennie Alvin Parker, 70, both of Morrow, Ohio. Young was arrested Monday in Tampa, Florida, Connie Meggs was arrested along with Kelly Meggs Wednesday in Ocala, Steele was arrested Wednesday in Greensboro, North Carolina, and the Parkers were arrested Thursday. The indictment details evidence of the group’s plot and text messages between its members.
Kelly Meggs allegedly wrote a post on Facebook in late December, which said “Trump wants us to make it wild” and told people to pack their bags for Washington, DC, planning to have between 50,000 to 100,000 people attending, according to the criminal complaint filed in the case.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Meggs Wrote on Facebook About Plans for a Storm of the U.S. Capitol & Planned to Make It ‘Wild,” Federal Officials Said
Agents said Meggs wrote a post on Facebook planning a storm on the Capitol.
“Trump said It’s gonna be wild!!!!!!! It’s gonna be wild!!!!!!! He wants us to make it WILD that’s what he’s saying. He called us all to the Capitol and wants us to make it wild!!! Sir Yes Sir!!! Gentlemen we are heading to DC pack your s***!!” the post said. “[W]e will have at least 50-100 OK there.”
“The superseding indictment alleges that Kelly and Connie Meggs, Young, Steele, and Sandra Parker donned paramilitary gear and joined with Watkins and 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,” the press release says.
All nine people are charged in federal court in Washington, DC “for conspiring to obstruct the United States Congress’s certification of the result of the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election,” the U.S. District Attorney’s Office said.
“In the lead-up to the attack on the U.S. Capitol, Bennie Parker allegedly communicated extensively with Watkins about potentially joining her militia and combining forces for the events of January 6,” the U.S. District Attorney said.
They were all charged with one count of conspiring to commit an offense against the United States “to corruptly obstruct, influence, or impede an official proceeding.” Bennie Parker and Caldwell were also charged with obstructing an investigation for allegedly deleting incriminating Facebook content.
2. The Oath Keepers Is a Militia Group Whose Members Believe Conspiracy Theories About Rights Being Stripped Away
Federal agents described the Oath Keepers as a “large but loosely organized collection of militia that believe the federal government has been coopted by a shadowy conspiracy that is trying to strip American citizens of their rights,” the criminal complaint filed in the case says.
It goes onto say the group focuses on recruiting current and former military, law enforcement and first responders, and that the name refers to the oath sworn by military and and police to defend the U.S. Constitution “from all enemies foreign and domestic.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center describes the Oath Keepers as a large extremist group.
“The Oath Keepers, which claims tens of thousands of present and former law enforcement officials and military veterans as members, is one of the largest radical antigovernment groups in the U.S. today,” the Southern Poverty Law Center writes. “While it claims only to be defending the Constitution, the entire organization is based on a set of baseless conspiracy theories about the federal government working to destroy the liberties of Americans.”
3. Kelly Meggs Is the General Manager of a Car Dealership in Lake City, Florida
The FBI said Meggs is the general manager at a car dealership in Lake City, Florida. He is married to Connie Meggs, who was also arrested for the Capitol riots, the criminal complaint filed in the case says.
Kelly Meggs was also photographed by a journalist the day before the siege on the Capitol. The caption said, “A member of the right-wing group Oath Keepers stands guard during a rally in front of the U.S. Supreme Court Building on January 5, 2021.”
Agents identified Connie Meggs in photos taken at the U.S. Capitol. She has worn clothing with an Oath Keepers insignia in public, a witness told agents. Meggs volunteers at a thrift shop, federal officials said.
4. Militia Members Formed a ‘Stack’ to Enter the U.S. Capitol, a Tactic Used by the Infantry
FBI agents said the group formed a “stack” during the riots at the U.S. Capitol January 6, 2021. The formation is used in the infantry to weave through crowds or when entering a room. The group places hands on the back of the person in front of them in order to communicate effectively, charging documents said.
The group was wearing matching uniforms of “camouflaged combat attire” and had patches and other insignia for the Oath Keepers. Videos and photos were widely circulated of the group “aggressively approaching an entrance to the Capitol” in a stack formation. They were also wearing helmets and reinforced vests.
Around the time of Meggs’ Facebook post, the FBI says Young arranged for firearms and combat training for himself and others in Florida.
5. Kelly Meggs Was Described By Another Group Member As the ‘Team Leader’ & Used the Name ‘OK Gator 1,’ the FBI Said
The FBI matched a phone number from Young’s email, which listed Meggs’ phone number and described him as a “team leader” in the Capitol siege. Meggs used the name “OK Gator 1,” the criminal complaint says. His cellphone records also showed that he was inside the Capitol at the time of the attack, agents said.
Meggs was pictured on a public profile on MeWe wearing his Oath Keepers uniform, according to the FBI. His credit card was used to book a room at a hotel in the area on January 5, 2021. The room was booked under the name of another Oath Keepers member. Several members who were charged in the indictment stayed at the same hotel that night.
Meggs was photographed by several journalists and his image was published in multiple news articles, the FBI said. Agents matched the gear he was wearing in photos taken at the Capitol to photos on his public profile. He was also spotted on surveillance footage, the agents said.