The Conspiracy to Use a Very Large Trump Sign as a Weapon To Obstruct the Vote Certification
Yesterday, a guy named Marshall Neefe pled guilty to conspiracy to obstruct the vote count (18 USC 1512(k)) and assault (18 USC 111(a)).
Unless you’re a really avid reader of this site, you’ve likely never heard of him. He’s just a QAnoner from Pennsylvania who planned with his buddy Brad Smith to arm themselves, with a club and a knife, respectively, and head to DC in response to Trump’s call.
The assault that Neefe pled to was, as part of a mob, using a very large Trump sign to push cops off their defensive line.
On the Capitol grounds, NEEFE and SMITH participated in hoisting and pushing a large metal sign frame holding a oversized “TRUMP” sign into a defensive line of Metropolitan Police Department (“MPD”) and USCP officers attempting to prevent rioters from further advancing on the West Front plaza of the Capitol. NEEFE understood and admits that at all times, these officers qualified as federal law enforcement officers and were engaged in performance of their official duties. The all-metal sign frame was approximately at least eight feet tall and 10 feet wide, welded with screws, and supported by large casters that were approximately the size of a man’s head. As described by one USCP officer who was part of the defensive line, the sign frame was heavy and it took at least 15 officers to carry the sign away after the rioters thrust into their line.
NEEFE’s hands were on the large metal sign for at least 10 seconds, including while the sign made contact with the line of officers. NEEFE advanced forward with the sign and other rioters into the line of officers, and retreated from the line after officers drove him and others back with pepper spray.
As part of his plea, Neefe didn’t plead guilty to 18 USC 111(b), using a deadly weapon. But his sentencing guidelines do treat the very large Donald Trump sign as a dangerous weapon.
Neefe is by no means the only one charged with assaulting cops with a very large Donald Trump sign.
But it’s significant, in this case, because of the way the conspiracy against Neefe and Smith was charged.
Neefe and Smith, like several of the other “lesser conspiracies” charged against non-militia members, started conspiring to participate in an insurrection in direct response to Trump’s own statements.
While both spoke in revolutionary terms immediately after the election, they viewed what is almost certainly Trump’s December 19 tweet as a direct call to action. Smith even called it a call to action on December 22.
SMITH: The call to action was put out to be in DC on January 6th from the Don himself. The reason is that’s the day pence counts them up and if the entire city is full of trump supporters it will stop the for sure riots from burning down the city at least for awhile.
NEEFE: We goin? . . . Cause hot damn son i really wanna crack some commie skulls.
SMITH: Yeah I”m going 100%. This is way more important than the last one actually. This one’s literally to save the city from chaos while they do their thing in the capital [typos original]
Smith also tried to recruit others to join them, citing (as other accused Jan6ers were in the same period) Trump’s orders as uniquely explicit.
Hey man if you wanna go down to DC on the 6th Trump is asking everyone to go. That’s the day Pence counts up the votes and they need supporters to fill the streets so when they refuse to back down the city doesn’t burn down right away. It’s the only time hes ever specifically asked people to show up. He didn’t say that’s why but it’s obviously why.
Somehow (how is of particular interest to me, given Smith’s apparent reference to one of the earlier rallies for Trump in DC), Smith’s understanding of the plan changed by December 31, when he raised storming the buildings with Neefe.
I cant wait for DC! Apparently it’s going to be WAY bigger lol. If it’s big enough we should all just storm the buildings. . . . Seriously. I was talking to my Dad about how easy that would be with enough people.
Smith continued to try to recruit others to come storm the buildings with him.
Take off the 6th man! It’s the Big one!!! Trump is literally calling people to DC in a show of force. Militias will be there and if there’s enough people they may fucking storm the buildings and take out the trash right there.
And the day before the attack, Smith called to, “Sacrifice the Senate!!!!!”
In the aftermath, both Smith and Neefe referenced Pence to explain their actions. “Then we heard the news on pence,” Neefe posted, “Amd [sic] lost it …. So we stormed.” Smith, probably writing before Congress completed certification in the early hours of the morning on January 7, claimed that, “Pence cucked like we knew he would but that was an Unbelievable show of force and it did its job.”
All of which is to say that the very large Trump sign in Neefe’s guilty plea is more than symbolic. These totally random dudes took Trump’s call to violence as an order. They armed themselves, came to DC having at least considered taking over buildings, and did so explicitly in response to the demands Trump made of Pence.
In the context of the conspiracy, as charged, this largely meets the terms Amit Mehta laid out when ruling it plausible that Trump entered into a conspiracy with the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers. “He knew the respective roles of the conspirators: his was to encourage the use of force, intimidation, or threats to thwart the Certification from proceeding.” Indeed, they even fit the framework Mehta laid out when deeming it plausible that Trump aided and abetted assaults — like the one using a very large Trump sign — on cops at the Capitol.
As noted, this conspiracy was charged under 18 USC 1512(k), meaning the sentence can be enhanced — as the guidelines have been, with Neefe — because of the use of threats. With this guilty plea, Trump may literally be on the hook for conspiring to obstruct the vote certification via his joint liability in using that very large Trump sign as a weapon to prevent the certification of Joe Biden’s win.
oooooh – such words!
“hook” … and “Trump” … cheers, marcy!
In the right context Trump will brag about the size of the sign prosecutors use as evidence against him.
“Nobody’s ever seen a sign that big”.
Stand down, and stand by. Trump said it. I didn’t…
“[S]tand back, and stand by.” He never told them to stand back.
He said “stand back and stand by.” He didn’t say “stand down.”
Solid post and one where Judge Mehta’s language really hit me over the head:
“He knew the respective roles of the conspirators: his was to encourage the use of force, intimidation, or threats to thwart the Certification from proceeding.” I think he did lots more, but
this got me to thinking: “Why does the Former need to be the order-giving, planning head of the conspiracy? Why can’t one infer–beyond a reasonable doubt, of course–that he was simply in agreement with the other conspirators?” Maybe I’m the only one who has thought that in order for there to be criminal liability, Trump has to be shown to have been a kind of an evil Captain Kirk sitting on the bridge of the SS Evil Enterprise handing out orders to his minions as they did his bidding. But now I don’t think so; Trump, himself, was, at least, a participant in the conspiracy, or, more likely, several conspiracies.
>“He knew the respective roles of the conspirators: his was to encourage the use of force, intimidation, or threats to thwart the Certification from proceeding.”
This sounds like a hype man, not the head of the conspiracy. That said, it would be hard to convince a jury that the president was not at the head of a conspiracy to keep himself president. It just doesn’t pass the sniff test.
But Trump stood to be the short term beneficiary of the conspiracy.
I think he stood to be the only beneficiary of the conspiracy.
Enjoying the thought of Trump’s defense lawyers feeling they refuted that he is the conspiracy’s leader/kingpin, only to realize they further implicated him as a participant.
Finally, a Frump sign that may actually prove to be useful for something other than kindling.
One wonders if there is any self-reflection that occurs from how one evolves from going from “(well damn, son) crack some commie skulls” to trying to run over federal police with a 1 ton 80 sq. ft. metal sign frame?
Trump was, is, and always will be about violence. He egged people on his whole life. Heck, we are now finding out he wanted to shoot protesters just because he felt like it.
He’s only about violence as long as he is protected from it in every way; he likes to watch. Like the archetypal bullies who terrorize only those way smaller than themselves, Trump is a physical coward.
Marcy says this:
“Yesterday, a guy named Marshall Neefe pled guilty to conspiracy to obstruct the vote count (18 USC 1512(k) ) and assault (18 USC 111(a)).”
“With this guilty plea, Trump may literally be on the hook for conspiring to obstruct the vote certification via his joint liability in using that very large Trump sign as a weapon to prevent the certification of Joe Biden’s win.”
So, maybe Trump and Marjorie Taylor Greene will be getting some Marshall law after all? /s
And, if MTG gets her cheekbones altered, maybe some Marital Law!
Call me a troll if you must, but it sounds like these two nut jobs initially thought Pence was going to do what Trump wanted and not certify the vote. They figured this act by Pence would rile up anti Trump nut jobs, so they went on the 6th to “keep the city from burning down”.
I’m not sure these are the best witnesses to take down Trump.
Yes, at this point you really are trolling here. Starting with when you took great umbrage that your first trollish comment here ever was not immediately posted.
I’m sorry, have you ever been involved in criminal cases? Because the dirty little truth is that often, for both sides, actual criminals and co-conspirators are the best witnesses to prove certain elements, or defense thereof, of the crime/conspiracy. Not just the best, but often the only.
Flooding the zone huh.
Just ignore the disruption of the electoral process and lethality in,
” … in a show of force. Militias will be there and if there’s enough people they may fucking storm the buildings and take out the trash right there.”
Judge Amit Mehta is from the District. Will all the cases go through that jurisdiction? And even if they do, surely there will be other judges within that jurisdiction who could (and probably would) have differing interpretations of what could/should be interpreted as complicity in the conspiracy (depending on which side of the aisle they identify politically). I’m beginning to believe it’s a stretch to think another judge is likely to expand that interpretation to include Trump. Honestly I never realized just how much of a role political ideologies played in the rulings of judges. I wish I were still that naive. :-(
You haven’t done much reading here, have you?
The cases are filed in varying jurisdictions, based on the underlying charges. If someone is accused of putting together a conspiracy in Kansas City (for example), then they might be charged in KC where the conspiracy began as opposed to DC where the conspirators engaged in mischief.
And yes, judges are not cookie cutters. Marcy has been very good at seeing where judges of different backgrounds come to similar or differing rulings.
That said, whether Trump is ultimately indicted will not depend as much on the judges but on the DOJ and the grand juries with whom they work. Whether Trump is ultimately convicted will depend much more on how good a job the DOJ attorneys do when they present their case, and not as much on the political ideologies of the judges.
Marcy is great at teasing out these distinctions, rather than simply buying into whatever political narrative is out there.
IANAL, but I’ve heard elsewhere and read here, I believe, something to the effect that the in voire dire process (jury selection) it will be virtually impossible to end up without at least one covert die-hard Trumper who will bollocks up even an ironclad case.
If they are under oath, which voir dire participants are, and state they are Trumpers, but could be fair and impartial, I don’t think they get bounced. Not for cause anyway, of course an atty could use up a peremptory on them, cautiously though. This is nowhere near “golly do you like or did you vote for Trump” easy, and it never should be.
Just my cynicism shining through, I guess. I would hope that anybody could strive to be fair and impartial, but that may be a bridge too far for some.
I’ve been in jury pools where it was probable that someone was lying to get out of serving, but that’s not a thoughtful person that either side want deliberating anyway.
BTW I’ve heard that the “get out of jury duty free” card is to assert that one would be biased one way or another (not giving equal weight) about police testimony.
That hasn’t been an issue in the three jury trials so far. In fact, verdicts have come back rather quickly.
Who built the sign and who paid for it?
Funny how that 10-ton sign should just show up at the Capitol, huh? Much like the organically-appearing gallows.
It’s not a standard item in most places. Not cheap, for sure.
such a Neefe-arious sign…
It really is.
[image linked from https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/justice-department/former-qanon-supporter-pleads-guilty-assaulting-officers-giant-trump-s-rcna27175%5D
Speaking of the sign, you’re the only journalist I’ve happened to see mention that [Samsel parties] got the Ray Epps disclosure. Which pivots to:
Ali Alexander said that in 2018 he got bodies to Stop the Steal protests (FL, senate race as I recall) by recruiting Qanoners and homeless people. Alexander also said in September 2020 that he was ~ collecting phone numbers so that they wouldn’t have to rely (solely) on social media to populate STS events. [Seems to me like anticipating bans which came far too late.]
When you raise Smith’s understanding of the plans changing by Dec. 31, the obvious source that comes to mind is the “1776 Returns” document distributed to Tarrio Dec. 30 which included the plan to storm buildings. I’ve suspected that document came from (cut-out) Ali Alexander or another high-level STS Stone-adjacent associate. Another pass-through suspect or potential holder of that information who might have been able to share it Qanoners’ way — esp. given the degree to which he bays lonely at the moon about Ray Epps — might be Alexander’s affiliate Alex Bruesewitz.
If the document was in their hands I could see it whiffling the Qanoners’ way — especially if the plans were to move bodies into buildings, and given AA’s stated history of using Qanoners and other vulnerable folks for purposes of massing.
Re: Alexander using Qanoners, homeless in 2018 FL election STS, and Sept. 2020 collecting phone numbers to “bypass social media”:
Right-Wing Operative Ali Alexander Leads ‘Stop the Steal’ Campaign | Right Wing Watch
By Kristen Doerer | November 5, 2020 10:54 am
Re: Bruesewitz (tweets @alexbruesewitz, CEO of X Strategies LLC), where he is interviewed and repeatedly called a “Stop the Steal organizer”:
MAGA activists plot revenge on Republican ‘traitors’ – POLITICO
By Tina Nguyen 01/05/2021 04:30 AM EST Updated: 01/05/2021 09:58 AM EST
[Note his name is both spelled correctly and misspelled as “Breusewitz” within this article]
According to a Breitbart exclusive 3/8/22, Bruesewitz plead the fifth before the J6 Committee.
Eureka, thank you yet again for bringing us this uniquely illuminating research. I try to discount my own obsession with the “minutiae” glittering deep down rabbit holes when I’m commenting here. Occasionally I convince myself that my discoveries might be germaine–and then I write too-long and insufficiently paragraphed comments!
The details you provide fascinate. Each one I pursue reveals itself as an aperture, like those long-hidden tunnels leading inside the pyramids. I don’t need to tell you that when someone bothers to hold minutiae into the light, they can bring down not just kings but royal imposters too.
It’s nice to be appreciated, thank you for your kind words. I was really busy and nearly didn’t add those bits so am glad I took the time to do so, especially if they were interesting to you.
As you’re surely aware it’s those details that become bas relief later — much more salient in or as the main events — and so my comments or insights are often anticipatory, if not intended that way. [There’s something important I want to add here but am too bogged to get the wording right. Perhaps another time.]
I appreciate your generosity of spirit and love of ideas, Ginevra.
I am certain we’d benefit from whatever you have to say should you decide to share one of those breakdowns you’re secreting ;).
Ahem, other than the Philly fandom thing, you have always been appreciated here.
You guys made me smile and you have no idea how much I wanted to post a shitty rap video right here.
Then there’s this sweet, sweet song en espanol.
You’re just lucky I didn’t have the
timeskills to program the new Schefter-branded NIL-themed Wordle, with antes for each guess (legal in 47 states).
Because I do have the inclination.
Bring it Philly Phanatic!
Since the Epps sideshow is blowing up with Alan Feuer’s NYT 5/5/2022 article on the disclosures (and maybe is about to _be_ blown up or reconfigured in a last-gasp) some background/other developments:
The funny thing (well, besides, e.g., Kellye SoRelle’s pacifist bent when it comes to letting Russia obliterate Ukraine) is that even though the Ray Epps conspiracy theory (*to date*) is overtly protective of the Proud Boys and outright accusatory/derogatory towards the Oath Keepers, SoRelle last month was trying to get in on some Ray Epps Bad action and they had an interesting interaction among other comments of note.
Interesting also because you’ll see that the conspiracy mongers are generally quite polite or casually friendly to Epps on twitter — they do not treat him like an outgroup member / loathsome false-flagger / so-called informant or whatever they want to call him — at all.
It’s always been a poorly-orchestrated charade that even the “believers” only used for purposes of arguing with legitimate content/persons, flooding the zone.
I’d refrained from stating that here so as to not educate the trolls. Now that it’s “over” (again; reports on the J6 testimony should have sufficed), some re-adjusted theater may be coming down the pike [update, next].
NB: I’d pointed to Bruesewitz’ twitter in part for his serial Ray Epps monologue, but also for the pinned tweet to his Tucker Carlson appearance. Besides his self-described PR role.
Also FYI: the purported (upcoming) breach documentarian is: J6: The First Breach @J6Documentary, which is run by J6 defendant Stephen Horn @stephenehorn
Marcy was being facetious about Carlson here https://twitter.com/emptywheel/status/1522389288901656579 (thread), but they *say* they have something in the works which the likes of Carlson/ilk might also boost.
[Prefacing some as we’ve not really discussed baseline here and events are now moving/looping]
The Ray Epps conspiracy theory was started over a 1/5/21 video where Tim Gionet aka Baked Alaska got the crowd yelling, “Fed! Fed! Fed! …” at Epps after Epps said they’d have to go into the Capitol building on 1/6 (peacefully / etc.). [Besides a decontextualized version of that clip, they use a cut clip from the first barricades breach which excludes Samsel’s interaction with Biggs, along with mischaracterizing text.]
IMO Gionet yelling at him, the conspiracy theory itself — besides the other facts — *inculpates* the PBs/leaders/plotters even more. They didn’t want this dude, familiar to them from other events and not a leader, to ruin their jam by running his mouth. And of course we all know [some of] what Gionet did himself inside (etc.) the Capitol 1/6.
That makes the following especially comical —
Check out this thread from Feb. just recently retweeted by Ray Epps, full of videos from all of the big PB/Jones/Alexander/Stone+ rallies leading up to J6. Most of these tweets have very low/no interaction (zero likes/RTs)/very low video views (low tens). Make your way to the top to find that the filmer is (re-) publishing them for the sake of Stephen Horn’s in-progress breach documentary:
Retweeted by Ray Epps @Rayeppsoath on or after May 3, 2022 [per dates of tweets RT’d post and prior]:
Start of thread:
(1) This video clip from 1/5 shows the part where Gionet is nodding, “Yes” as Epps says they’ll have to go into the Capitol and ends with Gionet saying, “Let’s GOOOOOo!” — different from the segment with the “Fed!” chants where Epps says and repeats, “Peacefully”.
Calling this ^ the “’cause I’ll be arrested” version.
The sad thing is to see all the replies from 1/5 pm where people are atting the FBI, Capitol Police, et al. and saying things like Good luck with that, the National Guard will be waiting. [Narrator: …]
(2) From another perspective; you can see Gionet lead “Fed! Fed! Fed!” chants when Epps says it slightly differently — a (usually truncated) version of this is what the Big Lie Cont. promulgators use (couldn’t find my other version, but thanks to a sitting Senator of the United States … Lyin’ yet again Ted– “the crowd”):
Calling this ^ the “I’m probably gonna go to jail for it, ok” version.
Haha, toldya they (OKs) were out shopping to get in on this hot CT action (glancing at what Marcy cites, this looks to be derivative of the Epps CT yarn, tho that one featured a difference fence remover, FenceCutterBulwark as I recall):
Related from above, forgot this link — and see the replies:
9:22 PM · Apr 5, 2022
This was a few days before the Ray Epps trolls started quoting/replying to my comment about Biggs & Samsel here. Something in the water, perhaps.
Oh, much more than derivative but some direct transfers like MaroonPB. This will take longer than a glance.
Besides Epps himself, TealScrambler, etc… … … hoo boy guess this might be that last-gasp reconfiguration I was sensing.
Back to Feuer’s NYT piece, they (the trolly they) early am got to working the angle (as headlined by Washington Examiner) that Epps called the FBI tipline two days after the riot (insert your *Boom!* or whatever here).
Eureka, how much of this all do you think should get put into the #J6TL?
I can’t even begin to break it down.
I could probably respond more effectively to this given sleep, but for starters there is when the now-suspended (?) tweeter “popped up” with it before Rep. Massie sprung it on Garland — to be near-immediately followed by the first of two Revolver News articles written by former Trump speech writer Darren Beattie. Then other ratfucks-by-Congressmember in hearings [Cruz (above); MTG, IIRC; misc.]. Couple more items. Then dates like Epps’ J6 interview [Kinzinger put out a statement/tweets on it that they howl about to this day], DOJ saying they’d be doing a disclosure on Epps for pertinent defendants. Jotting this sketch to return to later.
In the middle of that thread above, harpie, I meant to put in an aside to you that this is the type of stuff I was referring to (back alleys, dark places) where some of the info on that other group arriving with the PBs lurks, that you had been looking for. So, BONUS: this tour might lead you where you wanted to go, -ish …
Thanks for taking the time, Eureka.
I’ll see what I can do to get it into the TL.
Hope you can get some sleep!
I found this that has a bunch of the dates:
See links here for more dates/events:
The significance might not have been clear but that RT by Epps on or after May 3 (of a February tweet in which he was tagged, i.e. noticeable back then) needs to go in there.
It’s associated in time with some defendants getting the Ray Epps disclosures (Marcy tweeted about it May 3 afternoon; hers was the only tweet/news I saw about it until Feuer article May 5) and then via Marcy today (5/6) we see Geyer (5/5) is repurposing elements of the CT (I’ll abbreviate this RECT for short # not even a colon joke).
For those and other reasons (e.g. Sorelle tweet 4/5 w/replies) I think some hinky background stuff may be going on. Could be all or any coincidences.
So it would read something like (but phrased better):
4/5 Sorelle tweets re Ray Epps [“Well I found out who Ray Epps is. 😂😂😂 A Hillary Clinton supporter???” – link above] and they converse (tho what she said to others of interest there too re the OKs /OKs being disproportionately blamed [note that the RECT itself disproportionately blames OKs])
5/3 The Samsel Defendants have DOJ’s Ray Epps disclosures (per EW tweet on that date (will add next), unsure what date this occurred; don’t know what other defs got it already, have to recheck Feuer 5/5)
5/3 (on or after) Ray Epps retweets Feb 19 tweet (as above) by J6 defendant Shawn Bradley Witzemann of 11/30/2020 video of Epps and Gionet in which Epps is tagged; videographer (or “videographer”) states he is (re-) publishing post-election rally videos for purpose of J6 defendant Stephen Ethan Horn’s stated-to-be-in-progress J6 Breach Documentary (info as above). [Note: 1/5 video of Epps and Gionet forms part basis of the RECT.]
[aside– don’t have updated statuses on Witzemann and Horn’s cases]
5/5 PM Feuer article identifies nature of those materials; NYT has listened to recordings of Epps and Samsel released as [part of/vs. _the_ ] disclosures
5/5 Geyer filing (via EW 5/6) ~ recapitulates/reworks elements of Epps CT (*I’d need to finish reading to decide what to call what they are *actually* doing here)
Apols I am still having zombie problems, may be more helpful later. Already forgot something else I wanted to mention.
emptywheel: “The Samsel defendants officially have the Ray Epps materials.”
2:46 PM · May 3, 2022
^^ = a statement, no link or screenshot
^^ forgot to date-delimit that retweet
5/3 (on or after 5/3 but by 5/5) — and it was likely in the range of 5/3 pm to 5/4 am/noon (if someone on twitter has a means to detect the time things are RTd that would help)
squeaking this in before page closes —
harpie, for now the two most important things to be sure you have in the J6TL = Ali Alexander saying he used Qanoners to get bodies to the 2018 Florida post-election STS protests, and that in September 2020 he said he was collecting phone numbers to bypass social media:
via linked RW Watch above:
Maybe you already have these items; I thought I had additional sources for them but cannot locate atm.
The (outlines of the) RECT (which Trump has amplified at least once before IIRC, but leaves lately to surrogates / affiliates), may become more important later (other J6 def. filings/pleas/trials; campaigning; GOP reaction to J6 hearings; etc.).
It’s interesting to see the progression from ‘we need to be there to protect DC from the commies’ to ‘we’re gonna storm the Capitol!’ (Contrary to what some of the mods at this site assert, there very much was an effort to get people to DC by convincing them that the Right’s favourite imaginary bugbear, Anteeeefah, was going to be there in force. Just as there was a mirror effort by the Good Guys to keep anyone of the Left the hell away.) How, as in Smith’s case, the change came about is something worth knowing. It’s clear, from so many of the texts that have become public, that a great many of these assholes had already made that switch before they showed up. But it’s obvious that the prospect of beating ‘commie’ heads was the initial carrot with which to build up a small army that could then be aimed like a canon.
I think that you’ve misinterpreted the guidelines. It’s the club which earned him the +4.
“… who planned with his buddy Brad Smith to arm themselves, with a club and a knife, respectively, and head to DC …”
That would be in line with USSC Guidelines Manual: “An assault that involves the presence of a dangerous weapon is aggravated in form when the presence of the dangerous weapon is coupled with the intent to cause bodily injury.”
The intent is well established.