When Oath Keeper Rob Minuta provided security for Roger Stone on the day of the Capitol riot, it wasn’t his first time providing muscle for a top Trump aide. Imagery obtained by The Daily Beast shows Minuta marched alongside former Trump National Security Adviser Mike Flynn when he attended a similar march in Washington, D.C. in December which sought to overturn the 2020 election.
His appearance in similar roles for Flynn and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones at pro-Trump rallies after the election highlights the troubling network of connections between members of the far-right militia and some of Trump’s closest advisers and supporters.
ABC News first reported that Minuta was one of the Oath Keepers seen providing security for Roger Stone on the day of the riot. Minuta’s wife told the news outlet her husband didn’t enter the Capitol and he hasn’t been charged with a crime or accused of wrongdoing.
Much like the Jan. 6 rally that turned into a riot, the Dec. 12 rally drew a host of Trump supporters—including members of the extremist Oath Keepers militia and the white nationalist Proud Boys—after the pro-Trump group Women for America First organized a rally to support Trump’s attempts to overthrow the 2020 election.
Flynn was among the many top-tier Trump supporters who attended and spoke at the Dec. 12 events, where he gave speeches on the Mall and in front of the Supreme Court.
That evening, the rally descended into a bloody brawl as members of the Proud Boys clashed with counter-protesters. Washington, D.C. police reported four stabbings as a result of the clashes and charged Proud Boys founder Enrique Tarrio with destruction of property and felony firearms possession after he was seen allegedly vandalizing a historic Black church by tearing down and burning its Black Lives Matter banner.
Minuta, clad in black and wearing an Oath Keepers New Jersey hat, is visible escorting Flynn earlier in the day in an apparent security cordon seen in imagery taken as the former national security adviser walked towards the Supreme Court. In one video, Minuta is visible alongside other apparent members of the cordon pushing bystanders out of Flynn’s way as he heads up the steps of the court.
In an email to The Daily Beast, Flynn’s brother, Joseph Flynn, said neither he nor his brother knew or hired Minuta. “I personally hired our security that day and it was not Minuta or any Oath Keepers. We don’t know him never met him or even any Oath Keepers at least that we are aware of.”
Flynn’s attorney Sydney Powell, in an email to The Daily Beast, said her client wasn’t familiar with Minuta. “General Flynn does not know the man you described,” Powell wrote.
Citizen Lab researcher John Scott Railton and a Discord group of volunteers known as the “Capitol Terrorists Exposers” first identified Minuta in imagery escorting Flynn.
“This case is yet another illustration of the troubling tendrils connecting organized groups, such as the Oath Keepers, to this event and a reminder of the role of volunteers in identifying what may be key people in this story,” Scott-Railton told The Daily Beast.
Flynn did not respond to a request for comment from The Daily Beast.
Minuta appears to have performed a similar escort role for InfoWars conspiracy theorist Alex Jones at a Nov. 14 “Million MAGA March” Trump rally in Washington. In photos taken by UPI and Getty, Minuta is visible as part of an escort for Jones alongside reported members of the Proud Boys as he heads towards the Supreme Court.
A week before the Nov. 14 rally, an account in Minuta’s name posted in the RocketChat Forum, a website reportedly used by Oath Keepers which leaked to the left-wing UnicornRiot media collective.
“Fellow patriots, take this period of uncertainty to make sure provisions and gear is set up properly!,” the account wrote. “We must be ready to be in the streets in a controlled manor (Virginia 2A rally style). We must OVERTAKE the streets in massive numbers.”
Minuta identified himself as a Jones fan in a January 2020 interview, where he told the Virginia Mercury that he had attended a Virginia gun rights demonstration during the state’s Lobby Day after he heard about it on Jones’ show.
Minuta did not respond to email and text messages from The Daily Beast.
Minuta is visible in another photograph taken that evening standing next to an infamous Proud Boy, Dominic “Spazzo” Pezzola, the alleged rioter charged with smashing a Capitol window on Jan. 6 and allegedly telling a confidential witness that he “would have killed [Vice President] Mike Pence if given the chance.”
In a post on the now-defunct right-wing social media site Parler, one account in the name of Minuta’s father’s company posted a link to a photograph of Minuta standing behind “Spazzo.”
“THAT IS MY SON ROB STANDING FOR WHAT IS RIGHT,” the account posted next to a picture taken by Washingtonian photographer Evy Mages. “SPAZZOLINI IS THE MARINE IN FRONT AN ICONIC MARINE.”
Minuta’s father did not respond to a request for comment from The Daily Beast.
The Oath Keepers have drawn increased scrutiny from federal law enforcement after members of the group were charged with participating in the riot. Prosecutors have charged three Oath Keepers—Thomas Caldwell, Jessica Marie Watkins, and Donovan Crowl—with conspiracy to obstruct Congress. So far, prosecutors have only used conspiracy charges against alleged rioters who were members of the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys, and the government is reportedly considering whether to use a Nixon-era anti-mafia law to charge some rioters.
Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes was present at the rally in Washington on Jan. 6 but was not seen inside the Capitol and has not been charged with any wrongdoing.
Minuta’s relationship with the extremist Oath Keepers militia dates back at least to May 2020, when Rhodes supported an anti-lockdown protest at Minuta’s tattoo shop, Casa Di Dolore.
Minuta opened his tattoo shop in May in defiance of New York state public health regulations in what he called “a display of defiance against a tyrannical dictator,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo, according to an interview with the Mid Hudson News. In an interview in 2019, Minuta identified himself as an anti-vaxxer and told a local news outlet that he and his wife began looking at houses in New Jersey after New York passed a mandatory vaccination law for children.
Rhodes traveled from Texas to Newburgh, New York along with other members of the Oath Keepers to participate in the protest.
“I asked to be his first customer, and I’m going to get ‘We the people’ tattooed on my arm,” Rhodes told the Times Herald-Record.
In a video posted to the Oath Keepers YouTube channel at the time, Minuta, again dressed in Oath Keepers garb, tattoos “We the people” on Rhodes’ arm using the iconic scrawl seen in the original Constitution.
Updated 2/8/21 to add comment from Joseph Flynn and Sydney Powell.