Marion County couple accused of plotting with Oath Keepers during Capitol riot denied bail

Judge says husband, wife are a danger to community

Oath Keepers seen inside the Capitol during the riot on Jan. 6, 2021, according to the FBI. (FBI)

A husband and wife who were among those accused of conspiring with other members of a far-right militia group during the attack on the Capitol have been denied bail with a judge writing that they are both a danger to the community.

Kelly Meggs and his wife Connie Meggs, of Dunnellon, were arrested Friday along with four other members of the Oath Keepers who, according to federal authorities, plotted for weeks ahead of the attack, attended training sessions and recruited others.

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In a criminal affidavit penned by the FBI, the Oath Keepers is defined as “a large but loosely organized collection of militia that believe the federal government has been coopted by a shadowy conspiracy that is trying to strip American citizens of their rights.” The group focuses on recruiting current and former military, law enforcement and first responders.

Members donned tactical vests and helmets, moved in an organized fashion as they advanced on the Capitol and communicated with one another during the siege on Jan. 6, prosecutors said. Several defendants formed a “stack” formation used by military infantrymen, marching the Capitol steps with their hand on the shoulder of the person in front of them, authorities said.

According to the report, Kelly and Connie Meggs planned with Graydon Young, of Englewood, and his sister, Laura Steele of Thomasville, North Carolina, to enter the Capitol as Congress was preparing to certify President Joe Biden’s win over former President Donald Trump.

Pictures and videos linked in the 43-page affidavit show all four both inside and outside the Capitol wearing camouflage, tactical vests and helmets.

Kelly and Connie Meggs (Courtesy)

Kelly Meggs, who authorities say is the leader of the Florida chapter of the Oath Keepers, wrote in a Facebook message in December 2020: “Trump said It’s gonna be wild!!!!!!! It’s gonna be wild!!!!!!! He wants us to make it WILD that’s what he’s saying. He called us all to the Capitol and wants us to make it wild!!!,” according to court documents.

Later that month, authorities say Young reached out to a company that does firearms and combat training about a rifle class for four people, according to the indictment.

Connie and Kelly Meggs asked the court to be released from jail until their trial but on Monday, a judge ruled that they needed to stay behind bars.

“This case isn’t just about breaking the law. We see those cases everyday. This case is different. It is more. It is about challenging the very existence of the law. It is about a challenge to the very institution responsible for making the law, while it was in the process of carrying out its lawful duty. They were carrying out a duty that their oath required them to fulfill. That very Congress has established that one of the violations of law that you are charged with is so serious that the Court must presume you are a danger to the community when you are charged with violating it. When the Court considers then the seriousness of the charges against you and the weight of the evidence, there is only one conclusion. You are a danger to the community and must be detained,” a federal judge wrote in the motion.

Several Floridians have been arrested in connection with the attack at the Capitol, including a Sanford firefighter and a Proud Boys organizer from Marion County.

Anyone with information about someone who was involved in the riot can find details on how to report them here.

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