Evidence shows Florida man planned Capitol siege, prosecutors say

Kelly Meggs, of Marion County, accused of working with Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, others

Kelly Meggs
Kelly Meggs (Copyright 2021 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

WASHINGTON – Federal prosecutors are opposing a Florida man’s bid for pretrial release as he faces charges in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

In their brief laying out their opposition to Kelly Meggs’ release, prosecutors show what they say is evidence of the Marion County man planning the attack with other members of the Oath Keepers, Proud Boys and at least one other militia group.

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The court filing is the first time prosecutors have suggested that the members of the two far-right extremist groups were communicating with each other before coming to Washington.

The brief shows online communications from Meggs dating back to Nov. 9.

The first message calls on people ready to “join the fight” to message him directly on Facebook.

The post read: “Then Do it, a lot of people here are talking ! I don’t see anybody doing ! I used to say hell yeah and let’s go . Then I did it ! Now I laugh when I see people say it . If your [sic] waiting for it to come to your street your [sic] gonna die . You aren’t trained , you don’t have any experience and you might some shooting but that’s not combat or riots. This fight is face to face, not far away. If your [sic] ready to really join the fight DM me. It if your [sic] gonna keep talking on Facebook . Remember there are people doing (expletive) !”

Prosecutors then showed a Facebook message from Dec. 19, which they say showed Meggs coordinating with other groups that also planned to be in Washington D.C. on Jan. 6.

“Well we are ready for the rioters , this week I organized an alliance between Oath Keepers , Florida 3%ers [sic] , and Proud Boys . We have decided to work together and shut this (expletive) down”

Subsequent messages within the brief show Meggs telling people that former President Donald Trump was calling them to the Capitol to “make it wild !!!” and also showed the man discussing tactics involving the Proud Boys, according to prosecutors.

“I figure we could splinter off the main group of PB and come up behind them . (Expletive) crush them for good,” one message read, followed by “we can hang for a while they’ll see one group then we all fall to back of the pack and peel off . We catch them in the middle ..game over”

Kenneth Harrelson and other Oath Keepers seen inside the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. (FBI)

On Christmas, prosecutors said Meggs announced he was named “state lead of Florida.” On the same day, messages showed Meggs offering a supply list for people looking to join him in Washington D.C., according to the brief.

“Dc [sic] is no guns . So mace and gas masks , some batons . If you have armor that’s good . During the day it’s kind of boring but when it starts getting dark Game on”

Records show Meggs also discussed plans the Oath Keepers had made with the Proud Boys.

“You can hang with us we will probably be guarding (redacted) or someone during the day but then at night we have orchestra [sic] a plan with the proud boys . I’ve been communicating with (redacted) the leader . We are gonna March with them for a while then fall back to the back of the crowd and turn off . Then we will have proud boys get in front of them the cops will get between antifa and proud boys . We will come in behind antifa and beat the hell out of them.”

The last Facebook message presented in the brief shows Meggs had a disdain for D.C. police officer, according to prosecutors.

“(Expletive) DC cops protect those antifa (expletive) though pisses me off,” the message stated.

Prosecutors also said in their brief that Meggs helped to finance the Oath Keepers’s activities. Meggs paid for four rooms at two hotels where he and his wife, Connie Meggs, and several Oath Keepers stayed.

Kelly and Connie Meggs (Courtesy)

The brief also lays out Meggs’ actions on the day of the Capitol attack, according to prosecutors. They say he went up the Capitol steps on the east side of the building around 2:30 p.m. on Jan. 6 as part of a military-style “stack” with other Oath Keepers, prior to breaching the Capitol. According to prosecutors, he was inside the Capitol for about 20 minutes. He was then seen outside with others in Oath Keeper clothing and insignias, records show.

Following the riot at the Capitol, prosecutors said in their brief that Meggs wrote in an online Signal chat, “We aren’t quitting!! We are reloading!!”

Prosecutors said in the conclusion of their brief that there are no conditions under which Meggs could be released that would “reasonably assure the safety of the community.”

Defense attorneys have argued that any discussions their clients had in the weeks leading up to Jan. 6 were about preparations to provide security at the rally before the riot or to protect the pro-Trump crowd from antifa activists they believed might attack them. They have denied that there was any plot to storm the Capitol or obstruct the certification of the Electoral College vote.

Authorities have said the Oath Keepers were “prepared to do whatever was necessary to stop the certification” but have conceded they do not have records in which someone explicitly says the plan was to breach the Capitol.

Meggs’ attorney argued in his request for pretrial release that despite the “inflammatory language” authorities have used, there is no evidence Meggs committed any acts of violence or damaged government property.

It is not clear when the judge will rule whether to grant Meggs’ pretrial release. This story will be updated when a decision is made.

Meggs has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.

On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta agreed to release another defendant in the Oath Keepers conspiracy from jail, Laura Steele of North Carolina, while she awaits trial. Mehta said there is no evidence Steele destroyed property, assaulted anyone at the Capitol or, unlike other defendants, was involved in recruiting or training ahead of the attack.

More than 300 people have been charged in connection to the riot. Authorities have said they believe at least 100 more could face charges.

You can read the full court filing from prosecutors below.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


About the Authors:

Thomas Mates is a digital storyteller for News 6 and ClickOrlando.com. He also produces the podcast Florida Foodie. Thomas is originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania and worked in Portland, Oregon before moving to Central Florida in August 2018. He graduated from Temple University with a degree in Journalism in 2010.