DOJ Moves Towards Parallel Conspiracy Prosecutions of the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys

As noted, on January 27, DOJ indicted three Oath Keepers, Thomas Edward Caldwell, Donovan Ray Crowl, and Jessica Marie Watkins, in a conspiracy to hinder Congress’ certification of the Electoral College vote. FBI seems to be working on identifying the other people who were marching in formation with Watkins and Crowl on January 6, as well as building out a larger prosecution team (which includes, among others, one of the women who worked the Russian side of the Mueller cases).

Meanwhile, yesterday, DOJ announced the arrest of yet another Proud Boy — Ethan Nordean — and the indictment of two other Proud Boys, Nicholas DeCarlo and Nicholas Ochs, in a conspiracy to hinder Congress’ certification of the Electoral College vote. Of particular note, in DOJ’s request for detention with Nordean, they invoked the list of crimes that can merit a terrorist enhancement. (h/t FM)

They don’t say which of the terrorist enhancement crimes they have in mind, but several are possibilities:

  • 351 (relating to congressional, cabinet, and Supreme Court assassination and kidnaping)
  • 844(f)(2) or (3) (relating to arson and bombing of Government property risking or causing death)
  • 930(c) (relating to killing or attempted killing during an attack on a Federal facility with a dangerous weapon)
  • 1114 (relating to killing or attempted killing of officers and employees of the United States)
  • 1203 (relating to hostage taking)
  • 1751(a), (b), (c), or (d) (relating to Presidential and Presidential staff assassination and kidnaping)
  • 2332f (relating to bombing of public places and facilities)

Update, 2/6: The detention memo for Nordean explains they’re using his 1361 charge to apply the terrorism enhancement.

That rebuttable presumption applies to Defendant because 18 U.S.C. § 1361 is specifically enumerated in 18 U.S.C. § 2332b(g)(5)(B) and carries a maximum sentence of ten years in prison where, as here, damage or attempted damage to property exceeds $1,000.

All of which is to say the government is treating Nordean’s arrest like he’s part of a terrorist group.

As suggested above, the DeCarlo and Ochs conspiracy indictment parallels the one obtained against the Oath Keepers.

The Object of the conspiracy is the same: “to stop, delay, and hinder Congress’ certification of the Electoral College vote.” And several of the overt means are the same: agreeing to participate in a January 6 operation, taking planning steps together, and forcibly storming past the police barricades to enter the Capitol.

The conspiracy indictment of Dominic Pezzola and William Pepe effectively charged they conspired to achieve one of the means in the DeCarlo and Ochs indictment, to,

obstruct, influence, impede, and interfere with law enforcement officers engaged in their official duties in protecting the U.S. Capitol and its grounds during the demonstrations planned for January 6, 2021.

The government has not, yet, charged Pepe with 18 USC 1512, obstructing an official proceeding (meaning the vote certification).

Meanwhile, the Nordean complaint cites the charges against Pezzola, Joe Biggs, and Robert Gieswein, tying all their actions together without (yet) claiming an agreement to act together.

But you can see where this is heading: to two parallel conspiracy prosecutions, each sharing the same object — to halt the vote certification — and each also sharing several of the same overt acts.

These conspiracy indictments are, for now, based off personal communication between the co-conspirators, for example the Zello communications that Watkins sent. But as I noted in the Oath Keepers post, there is someone with whom both these groups agreed with and pursued some of the same steps as: Donald Trump. These conspiracy indictments may build little by little based off what each group has done among themselves, but the framework for a much broader conspiracy is already in place.

47 replies
  1. BobCon says:

    Joe Biggs said he had known for years that Enrique Tarrio was an informant:

    I am guessing Tarrio is not the only one funding his role with a lot of background crime, and this comment by Biggs hints at broader complicity.

    I’ll be interested in seeing if there is an effort to wrap up the organization in a broader criminal conspiracy that goes beyond the latest mayhem and ties it into the kind of crime Tarrio was committing.

  2. Spencer Dawkins says:

    This is the last blog post I’m reading this morning (gotta get to work), and the most encouraging. Thank you for posting it.

  3. Vinnie Gambone says:

    Feds should show detainees photos of Stone with his harem living the good life. Same with photos of Trump living it up at his Florida brothel.Meanwhile, detainees are draining their bank accounts, and likely their families’ to pay legal fees. FAFO .

  4. Pete T says:

    Should – when – a Proud Boys and Oath Keepers conspiracy happens what is the likelihood – as in is there even a remote possibility – someone closer to Trump might get invited to make it a threesome?

      • timbo says:

        Don Jr? Seems like he was spending a lot of time on extremist social media whipping things up…but do we know much about what he might have gotten himself into?

        Guiliani is wide open to an incitement charge for sure based solely on his speech at on Jan 6. But conspiracy is a harder one to pin just based on that of course.

        Flynn has an easy sedition charge looming over him for his calls for Trump to use the military to “redo the elections in places where Trump obviously was cheated”. But conspiracy? What would that take?

        Stone. He’s connected to these folks but how closely. From what little I’ve garnered he seems to have tried to firewall himself pretty well away from these folks… or at least his campaign of appearing to have done so seems to be effective up to now…

        Tubberville? GOP House Reps? Somewhere else in the Congressional staffs? Patel and Nunez?

        Left field? Things like communications with foreign governments, agents, or other foreign persons unknown? News reports that the White House was wired into the extremist websites is interesting in that maybe there’s other folks lower down at the White House that might have been tasked with “interfacing” with some folks in various extremist groups (other than Don Jr?). ICE personnel? Active military or USG intelligence agencies, groups, or persons? Pompeo and some of the other Twisslerings at State? DOJ personnel? A crazy quilt of possibilities out there…

    • PeterS says:

      Being pedantic, starting at PBs and OKs, “closer to Trump” covers an awful lot of ground. Someone close enough to Trump that he is damaged? I guess we’re guessing about that.

      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        Flynn, definitely. But Bannon was urging mayhem until it happened, and the timing of his pardon would help–if it covered more than the wall scam.

        • timbo says:

          Ah yes, Bannon… he’s definitely not out in left field as a possibility, but he strikes me as a little less crazy than Flynn…

      • Norskeflamthrower says:

        I sincerely hope that at some point Flynn is brought into this with regard to planning and execution of Jan.6th. And I hope that his status as a pardonee makes it impossible for him to take the 5th. I hope they also squeeze his f**kin’ brother. And why hasn’t the military command court martialed Flynn and stripped him of his rank and pension?

        • timbo says:

          He’s still within their jurisdiction unless he’s been stripped of his rank. General Officers can be recalled at any time unless they resign their commission or are already cashiered permanently. Is Flynn cashiered permanently? If so, I hadn’t heard about that…

      • Vinnie Gambone says:

        If Citizen Journalist was used by Flynn, Ochs, and others, perhaps there were conversations, instructions suggesting the use of the term. Could just be copy cat, but, if communications on this use could be found, and pressure continues to mount, who knows what else might be discovered. Criminals sometimes spend considerable energy engineering an alibi before committing a crime. Why do you need an alibi if what you’re doing is legal? Consciousness of guilt?

        • Chaparral says:

          Nah Vinnie, take the easy way here. I don’t think it was a planned or agreed on alibi. It’s just a convenient stalking horse. It’s fashionable for any of these alternate reality crazies who post a couple of phone videos on Youtube to call themselves a journalist.

          Is there a legal standard, a threshold you have to meet before you can legitimately call yourself a journalist?

  5. harpie says:

    The CNN article about the DiCarlo/Ochs indictment:
    says they are both claiming to have working as journalists [though they were not credentialed by Congress], and that they did not have to break anything to enter the building, and Ochs specified in one interview that he did not go into any congressional offices or the chambers. Together, they operate “a YouTube channel […] [and are] part of a group called “MT Media News,” standing for “murder the media news”.


    Ochs ran an unsuccessful campaign for the [HI] state legislature last year, winning an endorsement from Trump confidant Roger Stone, who recorded a video with him. [seems like that happened on “Friday 9/18/20][link] […]

    • harpie says:

      The link is to this 9/23/20 article:

      Ochs is the founder of the Proud Boys of Hawaii, a far-right organization he described in a 2018 interview with Hawaii Public Radio as the political counterpunch to the Aloha State’s liberal establishment.

      He said the group is a pro-gun, anti-feminist, America-first movement that supports Trump, closed borders and an end to political correctness. Ochs told HPR that while the Proud Boys are not racist they are “anti-racial guilt” and “Western chauvinist.”

      “The only thing you have to do to become a Proud Boy is declare yourself to be a proud Western chauvinist,” Ochs said. “It’s just to say that we think Western culture is the best and we need make no apology for that.”

      • Min says:

        Western chauvinism is a form of racism. One defense of enslaving African and American natives was giving them the benefit of Western culture.
        The idea of race as biological arose

        • Min says:

          Sorry for the misclick. :(

          A lot of people think of race as biological, but it race can also refer to nationality and ethnicity. Consider Lindbergh’s controversial comment about the “British and Jewish races”. The idea of dividing the human race into 3, 4, or 5 races arose in the late 19th century and continued well into the 20th century, but biologists no longer consider races as sub-species, although they may be clades.

          Identification with kinship or ethnic groups can be quite strong, leading to enmity. Pan-Slavism was one of the causes of WWI, for instance.

          Anyway, to be a Western chauvinist is to be a racist.

        • DTK says:

          Dear Min,
          It is my understanding that there is no genetic basis for “race”. On “race”, there is nothing for biologists to consider.
          Thank You

    • harpie says:

      It’s interesting to look back at what else was happening around the time Roger STONE endorsed Nicholas OCHS, 9/18/20]:

      1] Congressional Hearing:
      9:21 AM · Sep 17, 2020

      This is an important hearing and if you take a closer look, there’s some significant shifts. X/1
      First, check out the FBI Director’s testimony. [link]
      In particular, there’s a new term of art. DVE: domestic violent extremists. This is different than HVE: homegrown violent extremism (those inspired by jihadi ideology). FBI says 2019 was the deadliest year for ‘DVE’ since 1995 [Oklahoma City bombing] [THREAD]

      • harpie says:

        2] TRUMP tweets:
        2a] [referring to Wray’s testimony about ANTIFA as “just one part” of investigations into domestic terror, which also includes “racially motivated violent extremists, the militia-types, and others.” [ABC News]:
        [] realDonaldTrump/status/1306746265724530688
        8:06 PM · Sep 17, 2020

        …And I look at them as a bunch of well funded ANARCHISTS & THUGS who are protected because the Comey/Mueller inspired FBI is simply unable, or unwilling, to find their funding source, and allows them to get away with “murder”. LAW & ORDER!

        2b] [referring to FBI Director Wray: “We certainly have seen very active, very active efforts by the Russians to influence our election in 2020…to both sow divisiveness and discord and…to denigrate Vice President Biden.” [C-Span]]

        [] realDonaldTrump/status/1306749921173762049
        8:20 PM · Sep 17, 2020

        But Chris, you don’t see any activity from China, even though it is a FAR greater threat than Russia, Russia, Russia. They will both, plus others, be able to interfere in our 2020 Election with our totally vulnerable Unsolicited (Counterfeit?) Ballot Scam. Check it out!
        [!! Twitter: Learn how voting by mail is safe and secure!]

      • harpie says:

        3] MCCONNELL / GRAHAM:
        4:44 PM · Sep 16, 2020
        BREAKING: The Senate has confirmed six of Trump’s judicial nominees in the past 30 hours. These are lifetime appointments that McConnell’s pushing through instead of the HEROES Act & other crucial legislation. Every news program should be covering this tonight. #NoMoreTrumpJudges

        4] BILLY BARR’s SCREED
        Barr says calls for coronavirus lockdown are the ‘greatest intrusion on civil liberties’ other than slavery in US history
        [CNN] September 16, 2020

        Barr told the nation’s federal prosecutors to be aggressive when charging violent demonstrators with crimes, including potentially prosecuting protesters for plotting to overthrow the U.S. government. @aviswanatha @sgurman [WSJ] [“sedition”]

    • Tex says:

      “claiming to have working as journalists” That quote caught my eye as Michael Flynn’s now removed website (and .us) is now “under construction” but as recently as a three weeks ago was up promoting his “army of journalists.” (mock surprise) Tell me that’s not a coincidence. All roads point to Flynn in organizing the actual attack. Being a journalist myself it’s a simple but cleaver tactic but of course if you’re a journalist you pick up your press pass, you don’t storm the building.

    • harpie says:

      This is a really good article.

      TRUMP used a film like this on two huge screens before his October campaign speech in Lansing. Some of the images the author analyzes here, are also in this thread from October:
      2:34 PM · Oct 27, 2020

      Here’s what they just played at Trump’s rally in Lansing, Michigan: [VIDEO] [THREAD]

      The VIDEO in the first tweet is no longer available, but the photos are still there in the second.
      1] close up of Trump’s eyes
      2] Scrabble letters spelling out FEAR
      3] HOLLYWOOD sign
      4] EU Parliament chamber

      At the time, this display reminded me of the campaign ad Trump’s team made when he returned to WH triumphant over the VIRUS: See:
      3:03 PM · Oct 6, 2020

      I split screened shots from Leni Riefenstahl’s 1935 Nazi propaganda film, Triumph of Will, with @realDonaldTrump’s video of his return from the hospital. Not sure if this was intentional, but it’s eerily similar. His media team looking to history for inspiration, perhaps?
      Worth mentioning that these are a collection of shots from Triumph of the Will. Meaning, the @WhiteHouse’s film is playing out in real-time. But the shots on the right are scattered throughout the first ten minutes of the two-hour-long propoganda film.

      • harpie says:

        To me, it seems pretty clear the similarities were intentional.
        Also, be sure to have the sound on [Trump soundtrack] when you watch the comparison.

  6. White-Rose says:

    Rebekah Mercer is a principal investor in the Parler social media network, which was used to organize the January 6 insurrection. Mercer also has an equity stake in Breitbart News, which has propagated false information about election fraud.
    In 2014, Robert Mercer gave $150,000 to the Black Conservatives Fund, which promoted the January 6 march on Capitol Hill. Ali Alexander, one of the lead organizers of January 6, is a former adviser to the Black Conservatives Fund.
    In 2017, the Mercers gave $200,000 to the Gatestone Institute, which has advanced theories about a stolen election.
    The following year, they gave $8.1 million to DonorsTrust, which recently donated $1.5 million to white nationalist hate group VDARE, which has also advanced evidence-free theories surrounding the 2020 election results.
    In 2017 and 2018, the Mercer Family Foundation donated over $2 million to the Government Accountability Institute, whose research director, Eric Eggers, appeared on Sean Hannity’s radio show to suggest that fraudulent activity had tilted the election to Joe Biden.
    Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., who has also used violent rhetoric around the election, has received $21,600 in campaign contributions from the Mercer family.
    The Mercers were the biggest donors to the super PAC of Arizona Republican Party Chair Kelli Ward, one of the most prominent activists whose rhetoric helped create the conditions for the January 6 attack.

    And just in case the Mercers’ goals weren’t obvious based on where they put their money, The Intercept reported last week on a 2019 book by Rebekah Mercer raising the specter of “armed conflict.”

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