Todd Wilson: The Seditious Conspiracy Grows Branches

Yesterday, Oath Keeper Todd Wilson pled guilty to seditious conspiracy and obstruction. He’s from North Carolina, and while the Sedition Hunters who have followed the Oath Keepers closely had been tracking him and had noticed Ed Vallejo did not redact Wilson’s name on a transcript submitted in Vallejo’s detention fight, Wilson’s information was rolled out just the morning before he pled. He went from being charged to pleading to sedition in a matter of hours.

(In other news, Judge Amit Mehta released Vallejo to home confinement yesterday.)

What we see in statement of offense — and, I suspect, what we’ll see going forward — is DOJ making little-noticed parts of a much broader network visible. As with Georgia Oath Keeper Brian Ulrich’s statement of offense, for example, Wilson’s provides hints of damning discussions that happened at the state level.

In November 24, 2020, in the “NC OK County Leaders” Signal chat, a group member advised, “we all need to be very careful about what we post here . . . While Signal is end-to-end encrypted, it’s always safest to operate under the assumption that someone is monitoring our conversations electronically.”

For sixteen months, the non-specialist focus on the Oath Keepers has been tracking The Stack and those directly associated with it (though Oath Keeper researchers always had a broader focus). But we’re going to increasingly see pieces of this conspiracy that were visible, but not seen, because the spectacle of The Stack attracted most of the attention. Some of those little-seen aspects of the larger network may prove far more important.

One testament to that is that Wilson showed up, but was not noticed, in photos already submitted to the docket in Oath Keeper cases.

Wilson’s presence in the Rotunda is actually one of the tactically most important parts of his statement of offense. Wilson entered the Capitol from the west side and then helped open the East doors from inside.

Even before he entered the building, though, Wilson was one of four people with Stewart Rhodes watching the building as it was first assaulted and he was with Rhodes as the Oath Keeper leader first entered restricted grounds.

Just before 1:30 p.m., in response to a claim by an Oath Keeper affiliate on the “Leadership Intel Chat” that Antifa had breached the Capitol, Rhodes replied: “Nope. I’m right here. These are Patriots.” Minutes later, Rhodes posted to the group that he was standing at the comer of the Capitol building with four people to include Wilson. Rhodes then posted to the “DC OP: Jan 6 21 Signal group chat: Pence is doing nothing* As I predicted.” Rhodes added, “All I see Trump doing is complaining. I see no intent by him to do anything. So the patriots are taking it into their own hands. They’ve had enough.”


Shortly after 2:00 p.m., Wilson, Rhodes, and others bypassed barricades and Capitol Police officers, and unlawfully entered the restricted grounds of the Capitol. While advancing, Wilson heard Rhodes proclaim that they were in the midst of a “civil war.” Through plumes of smoke, Wilson could see mobs of people climbing up scaffolding and descending on the Capitol. Rhodes soon directed his followers to meet him at the Capitol. [my emphasis]

From there, Wilson (who escaped notice in part because he wasn’t kitted out like the others and who was a member of the Oath Keepers Intelligence Signal chat) entered the building with the goal of gathering intelligence.

At 2:34 p.m., Wilson entered through the Upper West Terrace Doors of the Capitol—the first of the co-conspirators to breach the building. Wilson was armed with a pocketknife and wore a neck gaiter and beanie hat to mask his appearance. Wilson entered the Capitol with the goal of disturbing the Congressional proceeding and gathering intelligence. [my emphasis]

Four minutes later, Wilson was helping push open the East doors, thereby helping The Stack and others open a second front of the attack.

By 2:38 p.m., Wilson had marched through the Rotunda to the east side of the Capitol where he joined in the center of a mob of people trying to push open the Rotunda Doors from inside of the building. Two Capitol police officers stood in front of the closed doors attempting to keep the mob at bay.


At approximately 2:39 p.m., the Rotunda doors were forced open, and a mob of people forcibly entered the Capitol through the doors. The entering mob included fourteen Oath Keepers co-conspirators—many of whom were wearing paramilitary clothing and patches with the Oath Keepers name, logo, and insignia—who had moved up and through the crowd on the east side of the Capitol in a military-style “stack” formation (“Stack One”), Wilson took cell phone video of them entering. The Rotunda Doors and surrounding facade suffered thousands of dollars worth of damage during the attack on the Capitol.

Wilson traveled with the others for a bit and may have accompanied the group that went to hunt down Nancy Pelosi.

Wilson walked through the Capitol for the next fifteen minutes, at times interacting with Dolan, Harrelson, and other co-conspirators who were heading southbound toward the House of Representatives.

The Oath Keepers got to insurrection later than the Proud Boys that day. But Wilson’s path makes the Oath Keepers more central players in the pincer effect seemingly coordinated with the Proud Boys and Alex Jones than previously known.

That’s the tactically important part of his statement of offense.

The part that has attracted the attention, however, is that not long after 5PM, Wilson witnessed Rhodes make a call on speaker phone to someone who could directly access Trump.

At the Phoenix Hotel, Rhodes gathered Wilson and other co-conspirators inside of a private suite. Rhodes then called an individual over speaker phone. Wilson heard, Rhodes repeatedly implore the individual to tell President Trump to call upon groups like the Oath Keepers to forcibly oppose the transfer of power. This individual denied Rhodes’s request to speak directly with President Trump. After the call ended, Rhodes stated to the group, “I just want to fight.”

The Phoenix Park Hotel parking garage, remember, is where Enrique Tarrio met with Rhodes on January 5, more details of which were released Monday in a detention memo for the Proud Boys leader.

Tarrio claims that his surreptitious meeting with Elmer Stuart Rhodes III and others in an underground parking garage was “secondary to why he was there.” Defendant’s Motion at *5 Tarrio’s claim is plainly disproven by video of the event, but even if it were accurate, it misses the point.

First, Tarrio intentionally traveled to the Hall of States Parking Garage near the Phoenix Hotel where he met with others who were planning to remain in Washington, D.C. Tarrio’s decision to do so—even while at risk of violating the D.C. Superior Court stay-away order— demonstrates that even after his arrest, Tarrio remained engaged in planning for January 6. This point is further underscored by Tarrio’s efforts to rejoin encrypted communications and coordinate with Nordean and Biggs about the plans for January 6. Second Superseding Indictment (ECF 305) at ¶¶ 63-67 (Biggs: “I gave Enrique a plan. The one I told the guys and he said he had one.”).

Second, video from the documentary crew shows Tarrio making the conscious decision to travel to an underground downtown parking garage to meet with others rather than departing Washington, D.C., as he had been ordered to do. Specifically, filmmakers captured Tarrio preparing to enter the Phoenix Hotel. The next clip captured Tarrio standing outside the hotel near a truck. When asked what happened, Tarrio told the filmmaker, “We went in [the Phoenix Hotel] and somebody advised us that they’re going to call the cops.” Tarrio was then advised by a female companion, “I think we should leave.” The next clip showed Tarrio in a truck stopped outside the Phoenix Hotel, with Tarrio talking to two people standing on the sidewalk. Tarrio then directed the driver of the truck to travel around the corner from the hotel and enter the Hall of States parking garage—where he offered to pay for the entry. While driving down the ramp into the garage, Tarrio was filmed on a phone call advising the other communicant that he could not come back near the front of the hotel because “they’re already looking out the window.” Tarrio then provided directions to the underground garage. The same two people with whom Tarrio communicated in front of the Phoenix Hotel appeared less than five minutes later in the underground parking garage, along with a handful of others.

Going forward, I suspect it would be ill-advised to assume the word “co-conspirator” assumes the conspiracy in question is entirely self-contained in one militia.

That’s worth keeping in mind when trying to guess whom Rhodes called. The most obvious candidate would be Roger Stone, and I promise you, before this is done, we’ll learn that Stone or his flunkies were involved in similar conversations.

But by the time of this call, per this WaPo piece, Stone was already fleeing. (h/t William Ockham)

Stone had said he expected to attend a meeting with administration officials on pardons that had been pushed back to 6 p.m. because Trump had “ruined the schedule for the day.” But following the riot, Stone and Davis left D.C. for the private flight.

Before Stone leftthe Willard for Dulles around 5 p.m., he paused for a photo in front of a hotel TV showing coverage of the riot.

And Wilson’s statement of offense gives the kind of nod to Mike Flynn that earlier Oath Keeper filings had restricted to Stone.

In December 14, 2020, after reading an article posted by a group member in the “Leadership Intel Chat” titled, “General Flynn warns of unelected ‘tyrants,’ says ‘time for God-fearing Americans to fight,'” Wilson replied, “It is time to fight!” [link added]

And Wilson has ties to people who have ties to Flynn.

So who knows? It could be Stone, it could be Flynn, it could be someone else — like Rudy or Mark Meadows — who genuinely did have direct access to the President.

The point being, we’re very close to a point, if not already there, where this networked conspiracy is going to coalesce such that it’s no longer about discrete militia groups, but it’s about people sitting in hotel rooms blocks away from the direct assault on the Capitol.

Update: Corrected the date of the garage meeting.

Update: The correct name of the hotel is the Phoenix Park.

58 replies
  1. greenbird says:

    also perhaps why the scene with J6 Committee and deponent … ?
    shhhhh … i’m hunting wabbits!

  2. Zirc says:

    I hope you’re right that the involvement of the people holed up in hotels becomes known, but based on this post, what we know is that someone in the hotel refused to connect insurrectionists with Trump. By itself, isn’t that exculpatory of Trump and his coterie?


    • skua says:

      Tony: Hey Tommy, put me through to the Don willya, I gotta a rum idea for him.

      Thomas: Nah Tony, he’s not taking calls from anyone right now. And what you got to say that you didn’t already say today already anyway?

      Maybe not that exculpatory after all?
      What with Tony already having talked with the Don and having a relationship with the Don that has included ready access by phone.

      • Zirc says:

        I get that, but one of the ways Mafia Dons stay out of jail is to stay one step removed and to talk in code with winks and nods.


    • emptywheel says:

      Yes and no.

      It’s clear that AFTER Jan 6, when people like Hannity reeled Trump in, he did not back (as Marge calls it) “Marshall law.”

      But we know–as Marge’s text makes clear–that people on all sides of the conspiracy had been led to believe that Martial law was an option. Did that go beyond Mike Flynn mouthing off, and if so, how close were the people mouthing off to Trump?

      • Leoghann says:

        We know that Lin Wood and his partner-in-stupid Sidney Powell also recommended it, although IIRC their suggestions were made in regard to having a justification to seize voting machines. That was in November or December, 2020.

        Isn’t Marshall Law the guy who claimed to have been invited to Republican cocaine parties and orgies?

      • Thomas says:

        From what I have read and pieced together so far, it is my opinion that Stone and Alex Jones were in the loop, but organizational control was handled by Flynn and a group we haven’t heard much about yet: First Amendment Praetorians.

        Flynn and these individuals are far more dangerous than the others. They are actual mercenaries, and not just stumblefoot goons like the Proudboys or fantasists like the Oathkeepers.
        Flynn and First Amendment Praetorians (renamed now) are actually developing a paramilitary force and pose a very real terrorist threat.

      • KM Williams says:

        “–that people on all sides of the conspiracy had been led to believe that Martial law was an option. ”

        I suppose that option was dependent upon BLM and Antifa joining in the fight? Good thing they stayed home.

        • Thomas says:

          Thank you for that comment!
          Another part of the insurrection that hasn’t gotten much notice was the strongly held beliefs of all the insurrectionists from Trump to Flynn and Rhodes and all the way down to the rioters that Antifa was going to come out in large numbers and engage the insurrectionists. They were so sure that this would happen that their tactics, plans and timing were thrown off because it didn’t happen.
          Mayor Bowser made a public plea to Leftists to stay away from the Jan 6 events and it seems like they pretty much honored her request. There are NO KNOWN interactions with Antifa and the rioters.
          Per Tarrio’s communications with the Proud Boys online: They dressed up like Antifa for the riot. AFTER the riot, the Proud Boys AND certain members of Congress engaged in a social media disinformation campaign, together, blaming the insurrection on Antifa.
          Laura Ingraham infamously participated in this coordinated disinformation campaign on Fox News.
          The coordination of this disinformation campaign to create a cover story for the crimes proves the complicity of all of the liars after the fact. The members of Congress who conspired to conceal the seditious conspiracy are co-conspirators themselves. At the very least, they should be expelled from Congress, and in my opinion, they should be prosecuted as well.
          Just one more observation
          It may be that Trump was waiting for reports of Antifa fighting the insurrectionists. This would have been his go ahead to declare martial law, and it explains why he ordered the Nat Guard to protect his people

          • grennan says:

            “someone in the hotel refused to connect insurrectionists with Trump”

            Not sure that someone was in the hotel… it’s been at least implied in some coverage that the someone was in the White House.

  3. pdaly says:

    It is good to learn the interconnections are going to tie in the plotters in the hotels.

    In the meantime some thoughts about the militia men:
    “Shortly after 2:00 p.m., Wilson, Rhodes, and others bypassed barricades and Capitol Police officers, and unlawfully entered the restricted grounds of the Capitol.”

    For whatever reason, the DOJ is more specific about when Rhodes bypassed the barricades and unlawfully entered restricted grounds in Stewart Rhodes’ indictment:

    “83. At around 2:12 p.m., RHODES entered the restricted Capitol grounds on the northeast side of the Capitol.”

    And 2:12 p.m. happens to be the time the first obstructor/insurrectionist enters the Capitol through the smashed window on the west side of the Capitol and then opens west doors from inside.

    “Wilson entered the Capitol from the west side and then helped open the East doors from inside.” 

    Oath Keeper Wilson started off on the east side with Rhodes, but went west to enter the Capitol and then emerged at the East Doors?
    So Wilson did the reverse commute of Proud Boys Biggs, who entered the Capitol on the west side, exited, walked around the building and then reentered the Capitol on the east?

    • Leoghann says:

      They would need their lower-case i’s and j’s dotted about exactly where Rhodes was and when he was there in Rhodes’ indictment. He’s denying having been there at all. They don’t need to be quite so precise for Wilson, because (1) they have photographic evidence of his presence, and (2) he’s pleading guilty.

  4. Peterr says:

    The existence of a chat called “Leadership Intel Chat” certainly aids the prosecution of crimes of conspiracy.

    That op-ed by Flynn is a piece of work. It opens with an invocation of a twisted nationalistic and militaristic version of Christianity, then moves to a twisted understanding of reality (“We do not want a world governed by tyrants whom no one has elected and who want to have power in order to destroy us.” No, General, you want to BE the tyrants whom no one has elected. But I digress.), and ends with a prediction of betrayal of Trump, Flynn, and their followers.

    At best, it reads like a Trumpian version of “who will rid me of these troublesome opponents?”; at worst it is whipping up the troops before a battle that is not deniable at all.

    • harpie says:

      That WILSON was on the “Leadership Intel Chat”, and entered the Capitol
      “with the goal of [obstructing and] gathering intelligence”
      is just screaming FLYNN, FLYNN, FLYNN! to me.

      I haven’t steeled myself to read that article yet, but THANK Marcy for linking!

  5. harpie says:

    THANKS for this, Marcy!
    I’m still reading, but want to let you know about a TYPO.
    The TARRIO – RHODES garage meeting was on 1/5/21

  6. BobCon says:

    “DOJ making little-noticed parts of a much broader network visible.”

    Are there any signs of the intent behind this? Are they making only the bare minimum visible as required for legal reasons? Or are there hints that they’re sharing more information for other audiences, such as 1/6 Committee, the press, or in anticipation of broader public disclosures in the future?

    • emptywheel says:

      The intent is to conduct an efficient investigation, which this clearly has been. You tip your hand a bit to make people more likely to flip, but not so much that the higher targets know what you have. Even if you were to just read the successive superseding indictments, you’d see how Rhodes was always a key target, but DOJ was withholding much of what they knew about Rhodes.

      • BobCon says:

        Thanks. The article on the tense meeting between DOJ and the 1/6 Committee was one suggestion of how close to the vest DOJ is keeping things, but I don’t know how true that is in all cases and all times.

  7. Phaedruses says:

    One thing I’m wondering is who paid for much of this? Stone and Flynn had been through federal trials and lawyers to defend that ain’t cheap. So their finances probably weren’t great at this time.

    Rudy is perpetually broke according to his statements in his latest divorce.

    Quite a few of the leadership indicted don’t seem awash in cash to throw away, especially given how some like Elmer spend tens of thousands on weapons ammo and gear etc. for this.

    Where did the money for all this come from?

    Remove Trump, Stone, Flynn, Giuliani, and Meadows, and you have gotten the public faces, but not the financial powers that set this up.

    If the DOJ can go after the people who have the money to spend on attacks on the US like this, and did; that to me is going to be the game changer down the road. Other wise the behind the scenes moneyed people will make sure next time they don’t get stuck with a Trump. Instead they will go for a slightly smarter more easily controlled front man, like George W Bush was.

    • rip says:

      Exactly. Follow the money.

      Assuming the US really wants to follow and disclose the ultimate funders. I think I learned that many of the past barons/robbers of industry/wealth were never prosecuted for obvious actions against the country.

      • John Gurley says:

        The failed “Smedley Butler Coup” against FDR in 1933 was never prosecuted, even though Butler, a retired Marine General, turned the coup financiers in.

    • Leoghann says:

      Rudy is much like his orange boss–he lies all the time, about everything. Do you really believe he would be honest about his financial condition in divorce court, when the topic of (ex-)spousal support was being discussed with the judge?

      All the people you mentioned have had several fund raising grifts going for years, directed toward Republican donor circles.

    • Thomas says:

      I have a more reasonable sounding answer to this question, and a far-out sounding answer.

      The far-out answer has to do with my thinking about the inaugural fund, and Viktor Vekselberg, and similar Russian oligarch-types at the fringes of Trump’s seeming ability to shit golden eggs.

      The more reasonable version? People like Patrick Byrne, Peter Thiel, Rebekah Mercer, Mike Lindell, etc etc.

      Could be both!
      But I doubt that it is neither.

      • John Gurley says:

        I am betting you can trace funding to Leonard Leo, and from there to the Koch Foundation(s)..

        Also, the Betsy DeVos/Erik Prince family of mercenaries.

  8. Rita says:

    Presumably, DOJ knows to whom Stewart Rhodes was talking.

    By 5 PM, Trump had issued his call to calm his supporters and Rudy Giuliani was seeking to exploit the delay caused by the violence. The National Guard was on the way. The militias were not needed. Or, perhaps more correctly, no longer needed.

    I can imagine how upset Rhodes was – he spent all of that money on weapons and didn’t get to play soldier with them. And, I can imagine how upset that he is now – betrayed by his lieutenants and let down by his superiors. Is he next to flip? I am not sure how far up the chain the conspiracy goes, but the DOJ is following the textbook for unraveling conspiracies.

    • Bruce Olsen says:

      Rhodes seems to be as true a believer as they come. Flipping him wouldn’t be easy.

      • Thomas says:

        I’m putting out my plea to the universe that the stubborn delusional nut has some belief that he will be acquitted and instead he is sent to a penitentiary for the next 40 years.

  9. harpie says:

    1] FLYNN [and Family] and 2] RHODES both spoke at the “JERICHO March”
    which was part of the 12/12/20 Second MAGA RALLY.

    1] [FLYNN, et al, If you can stomach it]:

    2] From the Combatting Terrorism Center at WEST POINT:
    The Oath Keepers and Their Role in the January 6 Insurrection
    DECEMBER 2021, VOLUME 14, ISSUE 10

    […] At the pro-Trump “Jericho March” in Washington, D.C., on December 12, 2020, Rhodes gave a speech to the crowd, calling on President Trump to invoke the Insurrection Act to remain in power, threatening that if he did not do so, the Oath Keepers would be forced to engage in a “‘much more desperate [and] much more bloody war’ to ensure that outcome.” [link] […]

  10. Makeitso says:

    The problem all along for the DOJ, and this is becoming more obvious every week it seems, is that many members of the republican party were intimately involved in the plot to overthrow the government. Thus, attempts to hold them responsible will be called political by republicans and believed by 40 percent of the country. There is no easy solution to this and thus DOJ may as well go after all the extended arms of the conspiracy while leaving the head intact.

    It may be all we can ask.

    • JohnForde says:

      No Makeitso. We can ask for decapitation. And I am. The head of the conspiracy must be incarcerated – and separately from the rest of the conspiracy’s corpse.
      Of course (I am mixing metaphors here) cooking the head LAST will make it even more delicious.
      I can hear BMAZ now, “Cannibalism, Forde. Always with the canibalism”.

      • John Lehman says:

        “Cannibalism”?….no, of course not…it’s a good illustration of an impatient hunger for justice we’re all craving.

        • Vinnie Gambone says:

          After munching on a cirus clown they had captured , what did one cannibal say to the other? Does this taste funny to you?

    • Ravenclaw says:

      Maybe. But then, I’d guess close to 40% of the electorate believed folks like Jeff Davis should be allowed to run for federal office after 1865.

    • Leoghann says:

      Excuse me for lacking the politeness of some of the other commenters, but I’m usually pretty tactless. Your “the DOJ will never touch any Republicans . . . the fix is in for the GOP at DOJ” spiel was already very tired three comments ago. It begins to look as though you’re a troll, selling the current GOP message that we may as well give up.

  11. Vinnie Gambone says:

    Forgive my laziness/ineptitude to find the article’s, but I recall there was a military (general’s) task force looking into what the military would/should do if Trump decided to involve them should he lose the election. This was months before the election, the group had a spokesman, etc. The statements made, as I recall, was that the military was keen on not being drawn into a marshal law scenario. They were tasked with coming up with a plan to not get involved.

    I did some searching and will do some more, but since it did come close to that, or at least the “normies” were informed trump might, one wonders what information/ inteligence they were working on months before the election. Were there moles in that group? Wondering what their final report / work product was and where it went ?
    It frighted heck out of me when I read it, but they were gaming out various scenarios and how the military would react. Insurection possibility was not lost on them. Any sleuth help appreciated. Maybe they should testify.

  12. Leoghann says:

    Marcy, I commented on your Twitter thread about (William) Todd Wilson that I had seen that he was just arrested this week. Thanks for clarifying that here. But that brings up a couple of other questions. I saw the date April 20 in something I was reading last night, as the date that DOJ started working on Wilson’s plea statement. Have you seen anything to substantiate that? Did the FBI contact him and tell him “we know who you are, and here’s how you can limit your exposure”? Or did he seek the investigators out for whatever reason?

    • John Gurley says:

      Is there any evidence that corroborates Wilson’s claim that Rhodes called his White House contact, asking to speak to Trump, and was rejected?

      • Leoghann says:

        At the very least, there would be phone records, which I’m sure DOJ has had for many months.

  13. grennan says:

    Telling details in the long WA Post story a few months ago about Stone and the filmmakers:

    Stone kicked them out of his suite for a short period of time on the 6th; and

    he really did *flee* that night — left so quickly he was stuffing his clothes into garbage bags. Major guilty awareness there.

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