In a new filing Thursday, federal prosecutors accused Kelly Meggs, a member of the Oath Keepers, of lying to the court and to the FBI that he had never received paramilitary training before storming the United States Capitol on January 6. , despite the fact that he and, in fact, his wife had attended at least two of those sessions.
The brief, filed in DC District Court, arrived less than a day later. BuzzFeed news revealed for the first time Photographs and videos of Meggs and his wife, Connie Meggs, participating in at least two military-style training sessions hosted by a former US Marine in Florida last year.
The couple, who live in Dunnellon, Florida, are among 10 people charged with conspiring to interfere with Electoral College certification by forcibly entering Capitol Hill on January 6, among other charges. Both have been incarcerated since their arrest on February 17 and have filed motions to request their release on bail. The Justice Department has argued that they should remain behind bars; Hearings to determine whether they remain in jail are scheduled for Friday in Washington, DC.
In his motion for release, filed on March 17, Kelly, 52, stated that he “never served in the military or received any paramilitary training.” In the new filing, prosecutors said he had denied receiving firearms training in Florida when interviewed by the FBI after his arrest. “We never really did it, but that was one of the things we were talking about,” Kelly allegedly said.
But records reviewed by BuzzFeed News from Facebook, Instagram and other online sources show that the couple, along with their son and at least one other member of the Oath Keepers, Kenneth Harrelson, attended two separate training sessions on firearms. fire organized by Combat Art Training. at a facility in Leesburg, Florida. Harrelson is also charged for his role in the events of January 6.
The first training session, which was held on September 20, was titled “Rifle Rifle Class 1”. According to a description from the class, the participants were taught “how to shoot at close range with a rifle in a fast and effective way.” Financial records reviewed by prosecutors show Kelly paid $ 600 to the combat training center on January 21.
In a video of the session in which the Meggs family participated, Connie can be seen using what prosecutors call an “AR platform firearm,” while Kelly prepares to fire a weapon at human-shaped targets. He can be heard laughing as instructor Andrew Smrecek talks about how well-placed shots can “break bones” rather than cause mere “wounds to the flesh.” According to prosecutors, the instructor taught the Meggs to aim for the chest to strike the heart to inflict “massive hemorrhage” or the lungs to cause “suction wounds to the chest.”
The filing also notes that the tactical gear Kelly wore on Jan.6 has not been recovered by police. Prosecutors highlighted a group chat on January 22 in which it appeared to suggest that he may have hidden or destroyed that equipment. “I lost everything in a boating accident,” he wrote.
Separately, prosecutors also revealed Wednesday night that Kelly had a 97-second phone call on the afternoon of January 6 with Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes moments before he and his wife joined others. members of the militant group on the east side of Florida. Capitol and began to make their way into the building. The content of that call is unknown. After leaving the Capitol, members of Oath Keepers rallied around Rhodes, according to prosecutors.
Earlier this month, Rhodes denied to the Washington Post that he had ordered the dozen Oath Keepers to enter the Capitol. In a text exchange with BuzzFeed News, he declined to address the government’s case against the Oath Keepers and questioned why he should respond to journalists’ questions, saying, “It is as if Pravda is approaching Solzhenitsyn to comment on an article by hit on it. “He did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.
Rhodes, who has not been charged with any offense related to the insurrection, is referred to as “Person One” in court hearings and presentations. But as the conspiracy case against the Oath Keepers progresses, prosecutors have increasingly revealed about Rhodes’ actions before and on January 6 in a series of documents advocating the continued detention of the accused members.
Much of that information is pulled from a group chat on Signal, an encrypted messaging app, in which Rhodes participated along with at least four other Oath Keepers, all of whom are charged with entering the Capitol. Late in the evening on January 6, prosecutors said, Rhodes sent a lengthy message to the Signal group comparing the day’s events to the Boston Tea Party of 1773.
“The founding generation of the Sons of Liberty broke into the mansion of the corrupt royal governor of Massachusetts and trashed the place. They also got on board a ship carrying East India Tea and dumped it into the harbor, ”Rhodes wrote. “In reality, we are in a much more deadly situation given the FACT that foreign and domestic enemies have subverted, infiltrated and taken control of almost every office and level of power in this nation.”
Details about Rhodes and his interactions with Kelly and other accused members came in a Justice Department filing against the release of Jessica Watkins, a member of the Oath Keepers who has been behind bars since her arrest in mid-January. .
The evidence, prosecutors say, “further underscores the audacious and corrupt nature of the conspiracy in which she and her co-conspirators participated.”