Oath Keeper Kelly Meggs wasn’t planning to storm the Capitol on Jan. 6 alone.
On top of the more than two months of preparation and coordination with fellow members of the far-right group, the 52-year-old boasted that he was keeping busy forming alliances with the Proud Boys and other paramilitary groups ahead of the insurrection, new messages released by federal prosecutors suggest. In the private Facebook messages, Meggs even claimed he’d “orchestrated a plan with the Proud Boys” to confront any violent members of antifa.
“This week I organized an alliance between Oath Keepers, Florida 3%ers, and Proud Boys,” the self-described leader of the Florida chapter of the Oath Keepers wrote in a Dec. 19 Facebook message to an associate. “We have decided to work together and shut this shit down.”
Three days later, Meggs said he’d discussed with the other groups’ leaders possible tactical maneuvers they could all use if they encountered any left-wing groups. He also described how the Oath Keepers themselves would come armed with military equipment—including “mace and gas masks, some batons.”
“I’ve been communicating with...the leader. We’re going to March with them for a while then fall to the back of the crowd and turn off. Then we will have the Proud Boys get in front of them the cops will get between antifa and Proud Boys,” he said. “We will come in behind antifa and beat the hell out of them.”
The stunning messages released in a Tuesday night filing arguing against Megg’s latest request for release offer the first concrete evidence of coordination among various extreme groups that descended on D.C. on Jan. 6. To date, almost a dozen Oath Keepers—including Meggs and his wife—have been charged with conspiring and recruiting others to storm the Capitol in a violent attack that left five dead and forced lawmakers into hiding for hours.
“Meggs plotted with his co-conspirators to stop the certification of the Electoral College vote, prepared to use violence if necessary, and stormed the Capitol. And he was the ‘team leader’ of the attack,” the court document states.
Prosecutors have described the Oath Keepers as “a large but loosely organized collection of the militia who believe the federal government has been corrupted by a shadowy conspiracy that is trying to strip American citizens of their rights.”
They allegedly planned for months to execute a coordinated plan to enter the Capitol at the direction of the group’s leader, Stewart Rhodes. After the assault, the group promised to “reload” for further action.
“Ok who gives a damn who went in there…. We are now the enemy of the State,” Meggs wrote in an encrypted chat that was used to coordinate the attack, the court document states. “We aren’t quitting!! We are reloading!!”
Last week, four Proud Boys leaders were also charged with conspiring in advance of the insurrection and devising a plot to divide into small groups ahead of their march to the Capitol. The cases against the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers are considered the most aggressive cases the Department of Justice has taken against the over 300 rioters who have been charged in the siege.
According to court documents, Meggs first began encouraging his Facebook followers to join him in “doing shit” and joining “the fight” in November. A month later, he indicated to a Facebook friend that his plans were well underway, saying that “we are ready for the rioters” and that he had coordinated with the Proud Boys and Florida Three Percenters.
"Plus we have made contact with PB and they always have a big group. Force multiplier,” Meggs wrote in a Dec. 22 Facebook message, adding that the Oath Keepers would have between 50 and 100 members on Jan. 6. “I figure we could splinter off the main group of PB and come up from behind. Fucking crush them for good.”
The court papers also state that in the days leading up to the Capitol riots, Meggs and other militia members believed former President Donald Trump would invoke the Insurrection Act—a move that they believed would give them permission to stop the counting of electoral votes for Biden.
“Trump’s staying in, he’s gonna use the emergency broadcast system on cell phones to broadcast to the American people. Then he will claim the insurrection act,” Meggs wrote in a Dec. 26 Facebook message, before adding: “wait for the 6th when we are all in DC to insurrection.”
On Jan. 3, three days before the riots, Meggs told an associate that “more than 200 Oath Keepers were ‘called’ to Washington because what Vice President Pence is doing ‘checks all the boxes,’ and emphasized that the January 6 event will not be a ‘rally.’”
The next day, Meggs expressed his disdain for D.C. police officers, saying in a Facebook message that Oath Keepers will have to do “street patrol” at night because that is when “they attack Patriots!!” Prosecutors note that sentiment directly contradicts Meggs’ and other Oath Keepers’ argument that the group only went to D.C. to help “protect police officers.”
During the riots, as thousands of MAGA supporters stormed the Capitol, Meggs and his fellow Oath Keepers are clearly visible in photos and videos marching closely together up the steps of the east side of the Capitol in their combat outfits before breaching the building.