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Plea talks have begun with 12 indicted Oath Keepers, DOJ says

In a new filing, the Justice Department says it has given Oath Keepers' attorneys more than a terabyte of data of evidence against their clients.

WASHINGTON — The Department of Justice has begun plea talks with at least some of the 12 Oath Keepers charged with conspiring to disrupt the joint session of Congress on January 6, according to new documents filed in court this week.

In a motion Thursday requesting a 60-day continuance, the DOJ said it has only recently begun reaching out to the defendants’ attorneys about the “possible resolution of these matters short of trial.” According to the DOJ, those discussions are “ongoing.”

The 12 Oath Keepers indicted in the case include Army veteran Jessica Watkins – an Ohio bar owner accused of recruiting and training militia members for January 6 – Florida Oath Keepers leader Kelly Meggs, and two men, Joshua James and Roberto Minuta, who served as part of a security detail for Roger Stone, the long-time confidante of former President Donald Trump.

Not included in the indictment is Jon Schaffer, the heavy metal guitarist and Oath Keepers founding member who became the first Capitol riot defendant to plead guilty last month.

In addition to plea discussions, the DOJ also informed the court it has now released more than a terabyte of data in discovery materials to the Oath Keepers’ attorneys. Those materials include:

  • Surveillance and public video footage showing the Oath Keepers’ movements through the Capitol;
  • Surveillance footage from the Comfort Inn Ballston, where several members are alleged to have stayed between January 5-7;
  • Body-worn camera footage from law enforcement officers on the ground;
  • Copies of Signal chats and a recording of the “Stop the Steal J6” Zello channel, which allegedly contain evidence of conspiracy and coordination;
  • Evidence seized from the roughly 50 search warrants now served in the case.

While several of the indicted Oath Keepers allegedly followed up the events of January 6 by discussing bunkering down and continuing to resist the incoming Biden administration – including, according to court documents, possibly building North Vietnamese-esque fighting tunnels in the mountains of Kentucky – others have expressed regret for their participation. One, Graydon Young, told a judge in February he felt he’d been “duped” into joining the militia.

The judge in that case, U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas Wilson, rejected Young’s claims – and his bond – saying the evidence showed his participation in the Capitol riot was “intentional and purposeful.”

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