WASHINGTON, DC – A Marion County man who federal prosecutors have painted as one of the conspirators in the Jan. 6 attack at the U.S. Capitol said he is an innocent man.
Kelly Meggs, of Dunnellon, was arrested on Feb. 17, 2021, more than one month after hundreds of people stormed the Capitol building after a speech by former President Trump.
[TRENDING: 4th resident of The Villages arrested for allegedly casting multiple ballots | Here are the restaurants opening around Central Florida in 2022 | Become a News 6 Insider (it’s free!)]
“It’s funny, because in the first arraignment hearing, they said, ‘Do you understand the charges that are leveled against you?’ And I said, ‘I understand the charges. I just don’t understand why they’re leveled against me,’” he told News 6 by phone from a Washington, D.C. jail.
Meggs is a member of a group called The Oath Keepers, an organization comprised primarily of veterans and former law enforcement which vows to uphold their sworn oath to protect America against foreign and domestic enemies.
He said he, his wife Connie and other members of the Central Florida group traveled to Washington, D.C. last January to provide security detail for rallies around the president – not to storm the Capitol.
He said after the rallies, he and others found themselves sitting on the steps of the Capitol.
[RELATED: Who are the Oath Keepers? A look at militia group whose members face charges after Capitol Attack]
“We were singing the National Anthem and God Bless America and America Beautiful, and people were waving flags and everything. Then bam, the doors open behind us. We heard them open real loud,” he said. “We walked up the steps, a couple of steps, just to see. Where we were was a little bit below the crowd, and when we got up to the top there, where you can actually see, the back doors were open. The crowd just surged, and you got sucked in.”
Meggs claimed he and his wife were only inside the Capitol building briefly.
“I could not believe what I saw on TV, because that was not what I saw. When I was there, there was two completely different things going on that day. I guess one side of the building, there was one thing going on, when the doors were open. The police were literally standing there at the door not even telling anybody not to come in. Everybody was just coming in. I mean, on the other side, apparently there was a battle going on,” he said.
He said the FBI arrested him near his home in Dunnellon.
“I was pulled over on the way to work in the morning by about 15 or 16 FBI, Homeland Security, sheriffs, all with rifles out, face down on the pavement, surrounded. They cuffed me and dragged me back to my house and then arrested my wife and grabbed my grandchildren out of the house. It was like an attack. It was crazy,” he said.
Since then, Meggs said he has lived in solitary confinement for 22 hours each day.
He said he and other Jan. 6 defendants are denied haircuts or shaves.
He said he’s now waiting to clear his name.
“We are 100% innocent, and I can’t wait for our day in court, so that we can show the video proof that what they’re saying is a complete lie,” he said. “It’s a complete hoax on their side, and then we can at least tell the truth and get the clear our name.”
Meggs, his wife and Titusville resident Kenneth Harrelson will have their day in court in April.
Their trial is one of the first to make it to a courtroom and jury selection is slated for April 19.