The Oath Keepers militia has seen better days. Members of the far-right group’s leadership are facing conspiracy charges for their alleged role in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. Prosecutors are reportedly considering rare sedition charges against those members, and Oath Keepers’ fundraising efforts have stalled after companies like Amazon banned the group from their charity programs.
But they have one great, shining hope: a crowd-funding effort spearheaded by a lawyer who recently tried to dissolve Congress and reinstall Donald Trump using a lawsuit that cited politics from Lord of the Rings, the fantasy trilogy about elves.
Kellye SoRelle is a failed Texas House candidate and member of the group Lawyers for Trump. After Trump’s re-election loss, she joined a lawsuit that sought to keep him in office, in part by likening the ex-president to a king from the Lord of the Rings’ fictional kingdom of Gondor. Now that a judge has dismissed the elf lawsuit, SoRelle is taking up the Oath Keepers’ defense, raising money for them on a “Christian crowdfunding” website.
The fundraiser, on the site GiveSendGo, asks donors to “Help Fight Deep State lawfare on Patriots.” Although it uses pictures of the Oath Keepers and references “OK”s, the page does not name the group.
“Hello, I am an attorney in Texas who represents a national organization and they need American support,” the fundraiser, which is listed under SoRelle’s name, reads. “If I even mention their name certain social media companies will deny them access.”
Neither SoRelle nor GiveSendGo returned requests for comment about the page, which has currently raised more than $7,000. Other Oath Keepers charged in the Capitol riots have raised even more independently on GiveSendGo. One married couple has raised more than $80,000 on the site. Court documents released this week reveal that the husband, Kelly Meggs, boasted of “organiz[ing] alliance between Oath Keepers, Florida 3%ers, and Proud Boys,” referring to two other far-right groups whose members have been implicated in the violence. “We have decided to work together and shut this s--- down.” (An attorney for Meggs did not immediately return a request for comment. Meggs has pleaded not guilty.)
The fundraiser is not SoRelle’s first tie to the Oath Keepers. The night before the Capitol attack, she appeared in a video alongside the Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes, Virginia state senator Amanda Chase, “Latinos for Trump” leader Bianca Garcia, and “Vets4Trump” founder Joshua Macias. In the video, SoRelle discussed her previous efforts to prove widespread voter fraud against Trump, which involved her accusing a journalist of smuggling ballots into a Michigan vote-count center. (The “suspicious” package SoRelle flagged was actually camera equipment.)
In her video alongside Rhodes, SoRelle said that “even if that was the media, great, because that means you were still there, you were in on it, you were working with the Democrats, you were aware that they were stealing the election and yet you were reporting to the American people that you had closed—everything was done, go to bed, tomorrow we’ll pick back up. That’s RICO. You know, these are, these are criminal organizations taking over our country, I’m assuming for the Chinese.”
Weeks after the riot, SoRelle teamed up with Paul Davis, a lawyer who had recently been fired for making a video outside the Capitol during the riot. Although Davis does not appear to have entered the building, he announced in his video that “we’re all trying to get into the Capitol.” SoRelle and Davis’ lawsuit argued to overturn the results of the election by installing Trump as president and banning every member of Congress, every governor, every secretary of state, and other figures like Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg from ever holding office.
To make their case, the lawyers attempted to cite Lord of the Rings legal convention.
“During the course of the epic trilogy, the rightful King of Gondor had abandoned the throne,” one of their filings reads in part. “Since only the rightful king could sit on the throne of Gondor, a steward was appointed to manage Gondor until the return of the King, known as ‘Aragorn,’ occurred at the end of the story. This analogy is applicable since there is now in Washington, D.C., a group of individuals calling themselves the President, Vice President, and Congress who have no rightful claim to govern the American People. Accordingly, as set forth in the Proposed Temporary Restraining Order, as a remedy the Court should appoint a group of special masters (the ‘Stewards') to provide a check on the power of the illegitimate President until this Constitutional Crisis can be resolved through a peaceful legal process of a Preliminary Injunction Hearing and a jury trial on the merits.”
The lawsuit listed Latinos for Trump and Joshua Macias as plaintiffs. (Macias was one of two Amanda Chase bodyguards to be arrested for allegedly bringing a rifle and a sword inter-state to a Philadelphia vote-count center. A second bodyguard caught prosecutors’ eyes when he and a group of Oath Keepers wandered behind a CNN presenter outside the Capitol during the riot.) A judge quickly dismissed the lawsuit on lack of merit.
The precise nature of any legal work by SoRelle for the Oath Keepers isn’t clear, although she suggested on the fundraiser that the prosecution against the group was part of a nefarious communist plot. (Rhodes could not immediately be reached for comment.)
“That defamation and demonization has now morphed into a malicious prosecution campaign against them by the communists and Deep State elements now controlling the federal government,” she wrote.
Some of that recent prosecution has revealed internal Oath Keeper messages in which members allegedly boasted of coordinating with other violent groups like the Proud Boys, broached plans to make mass arrests of lawmakers during the riots, and discussed having heavily armed “quick reaction forces” on hand for the assault on the Capitol.
“If we’d had guns, I guarantee we would have killed 100 politicians,” wrote one Oath Keeper facing conspiracy charges, according to prosecutors. “They ran off and were spirited away through their underground tunnels like the rats they were.”
The fundraising page, however, shows little acknowledgment of those remarks.
“I am appalled by the ruthless action by our Government against the Patriotic organization ‘Oathkeepers),” one donor wrote. “I hope that name doesn’t get deleted because I am a proud Oathkeeper myself [sic] The Oathkeepers, including myself, do not condone any type of violence and never have. This is all political.”