Group leader claimed Secret Service contact

WashingtonOath Keepers Founder Stewart Rhodes was told by a member of extremist group He was in contact with the Secret Service before the 2020 elections, a witness testified in Rhodes on Thursday. Riot at the Capitol trial.

John Zimmerman, who was a member of the North Carolina chapter, claimed Rhodes had a Secret Service agent’s number, and the logistics of then-President Donald Trump’s September 2020 rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Carolina told jurors that she claimed to have spoken to the agent about Carolina.

The allegations were made on the third day of testimony in the case in which Rhodes and four others were indicted. inflammatory conspiracy For what officials described as a detailed and lengthy conspiracy to block the transfer of power from Trump to elected Democrat Joe Biden.

Zimmerman couldn’t be sure that Rhodes was talking to someone in the Secret Service — that’s all Rhodes had told him — and it wasn’t clear what they were talking about. said that Rhodes wanted to find “parameters” in which the Oathkeepers could operate during election year rallies.

The significance of the government case details is unclear. Rhodes and others from Granbury, Texas, have been accused of spending weeks planning to use violence in a desperate campaign to keep Trump in the White House.

Trump’s Potential links to extremist groups It is the focus of a House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol riot.

Another sworn defender expected to testify against Rhodes said that after the riots, Rhodes called someone he believed to be close to Trump and asked Trump to fight to keep him in power. He claimed to have requested that a militia group be called in. Authorities have not identified the person. Rhodes’ attorney says there was never a call.

A Secret Service spokesperson said it was aware of “inquiries from individuals in the Oathkeeper in the past.” In developing security plans for events, officials said, “It is not uncommon for various organizations to contact us regarding security restrictions and activities that are permitted near protected sites.”

The other trial is Thomas Caldwell of Berryville, Virginia. Kenneth Harrelson of Titusville, Florida. Jessica Watkins of Woodstock, Ohio. Kelly Meggs of Dunnellon, Florida. The trial is expected to last several weeks.

Authorities say the Orthkeepers organized paramilitary drills and hid weapons with a “rapid response force” team at a Virginia hotel before members stormed the Capitol with hundreds of other Trump supporters. in case you ever need it.

The jury also heard testimony from a man who secretly recorded a conference call held by Rhodes on November 9, 2020.

The man, Abdullah Rasheed, said he began recording calls with hundreds of Oathkeeper members because Rhodes’ rhetoric sounded like ‘We’re going to war with the U.S. government’ .

Rasheed said he tried to contact authorities, including the Capitol Police and the FBI, about the call, but no one called him until “after everything happened.” The FBI agent testified that the agency received information about the call in November 2020, and when asked if the FBI ever conducted an interview, he said, “Not to my knowledge.” The man contacted the FBI again in March 2021 and was interviewed. He provided a recording of the call to authorities.

Rhodes’ attorney said the leader of the Oathkeepers was guilty of his actions by January 6. He was preparing orders he believed were from Trump, but never didRhodes said he believed Trump would invoke the Insurrection Act and call up militias to support his bid to stay in power.

Defense attorneys say Oathkeepers often set up rapid response forces for events, but they are only used to protect against violence from antifa activists or if Trump invokes riot laws. Says.

Zimmerman, a former Oathkeeper from North Carolina, is preparing a rapid response force for the “Million MAGA March” in Washington on Nov. 14, 2020, in case Trump invokes the Riot Act. I explained that That day, thousands of Trump supporters gathered in Liberty Square on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington to rally in support of Trump’s false election claims.

Zimmerman told jurors that Oathkeeper hid at least a dozen rifles and several handguns in his van parked at Arlington National Cemetery, serving as a rapid response force. He said they never took the gun to Washington.

Zimmerman was not in the city on Jan. 6 as he was recovering from the coronavirus.After the Nov. 14 event, the North Carolina Oathkeepers split from Rhodes. Said the division caused Rhodes’ suggestion that the Oathkeeper would wear a disguise to lure them into attacking Antifa activists, allowing the Oathkeeper to “beat” them.

According to Zimmerman, Rhodes suggested disguising himself as an elderly person or mother, pushing a stroller, and putting a weapon in the stroller.

“I said to him, ‘No, that’s not our job,'” Zimmerman said. “It’s a pincer shot. It’s illegal.”

In another case on Thursday, Jeremy Joseph Bertino Three members of the Oath Keeper of North Carolina have also pleaded guilty.


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