ORLANDO, Fla. – A federal judge on Thursday sentenced a Dunnellon man to 12 years in prison for seditious conspiracy in connection with the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Kelly Meggs and his attorney pleaded for leniency before the sentence was handed down, saying he was not on the Capitol grounds to cause violence, and he was just someone who got carried away in the events of the day.
Meggs, who was the leader of the Florida chapter of the militia group Oath Keepers, was convicted by a jury in November, along with Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes.
In 2022, Meggs told News 6′s Erik Sandoval that he and wife Connie traveled with others from Central Florida to Washington, DC, to provide security details for rallies around former President Donald Trump, who held a rally on Jan. 6.
Meggs said after the rally, he and others just found themselves sitting on the steps of the Capitol.
“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,” Meggs 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.”
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Meggs said he couldn’t wait for his day in court, because they had video proof that the charges against them were a lie.
Prosecutors and investigators, however, said Meggs conspired with Rhodes and others online to be in play on Jan. 6, especially if Trump invoked the Insurrection Act.
Prosecutors showed several messages posted on social media recruiting people, particularly in preparation for a battle with anyone opposed to them.
“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.” one message said.
Prosecutors alleged Meggs wrote in a group chat on Dec. 22, 2020, “It’s gonna be wild…It’s gonna be wild….(President Trump) called us all to the Capitol and wants us to make it wild…Sir Yes Sir!!”
Prosecutors said Meggs stored weapons at a hotel outside Washington in case they were needed, and entered the Capitol with other Oath Keepers in a military “stack” formation.
Prosecutors also pointed to text messages to his wife and son from the night of Nov. 3, 2020.
“I’m gonna go on a killing spree,” Meggs is reported to have written.
“Then 10 seconds later, ‘Pelosi first,’” the court filing read.
In sentencing Meggs, Judge Amit Mehta said Meggs’ view of his actions that day is at odds with the evidence, and questioned if Meggs’ actions and words were those of someone who was part of a mere “security detail.”
The judge found Meggs doesn’t present an ongoing threat to the country the way Rhodes does, but told him “violence cannot be resorted to just because you disagree with who got elected.”
Meggs’ sentence is the third longest so far among those prosecuted for the Jan. 6 attack. Rhodes himself got 18 years on Thursday for seditious conspiracy, while Peter Schwartz got 14 years for attacking police officers at the Capitol.
Connie Meggs, Kelly Meggs’ wife, was found guilty in March of conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding and other felony charges.
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