Members of the far-right group Oath Keepers reportedly exchanged messages about the safety of Texas Republican Rep. Ronny Jackson, who was also Donald Trump’s former White House physician, during the chaos of the US Capitol riots. USA
The messages, one of which said that Jackson should be protected because he has “critical data,” were part of a batch of newly released messages from members of the alleged co-conspirators on Jan. 6, 2021, according to a new court filing from one of the the accused
Defendant Oath Keeper Edward Vallejo of Arizona is seeking release from pretrial detention and filed a lengthy court filing before an April 29 court hearing on his request. The 337-page filing includes dozens of pages of messages allegedly exchanged by Oath Keepers members in the days leading up to January 6, 2021 and during the peak of violence that day.
The message exchanges include a series of comments, instructions and responses from Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes, who, along with Vallejo, is part of a group of members of the far-right organization charged with seditious conspiracy and set to face a trial later this year.
According to some of the messages included in Vallejo’s court filing, a member of the group expresses concern for Jackson’s safety during the Capitol siege. Rhodes replied, “Give him my cell phone.”
According to another message included in the court filing, a member of the group wrote: “Dr. Ronnie Jackson, on the move. Needs protection. If someone inside covers you. You have critical data to protect.”
The references to Jackson are just one part of hundreds of messages sent between Oath Keepers members, according to court documents.
In another, dated January 2, 2021, an alleged Oath Keepers member writes that the group is in Washington to provide a personal security detail for longtime Trump ally Roger Stone. They also allegedly discussed providing “backup” security for Trump’s former national security adviser, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn (ret.) in text messages dated December 31, 2020, around the time that Flynn was said to have been pressuring the former president to declare martial law and seize the voting machines.
In a series of messages, including on the morning of January 6, members of the group discussed preparations for a “QRF,” a so-called quick reaction force that prepares weapons and other supplies outside Washington city limits. , DC. In a message included in the court filing, Rhodes allegedly wrote: “We will have several well-equipped QRFs outside of DC. And there are many, many others, from other groups, who will be watching and waiting outside in the event of a worst-case scenario.” “. scenarios”.
In a morning message on January 6, a member of the group wrote, “Game day.”
Vallejo’s defense team argued in court papers that he “did not see himself as part of any ‘Rapid Reaction Force'” until after he arrived in Washington. He, too, is not charged with entering the Capitol building.
In other posts, members of the group discuss the District of Columbia’s gun bans, deliberating on the allowable length of blades, the use of cattle prods, chemical sprayers and flagpoles as weapons.
Messages included in Vallejo’s court file also indicate that members of the group were broadcasting information about police movements during the attack and continued to monitor activity by members of Congress at 7 p.m. on January 6, after curfew will be decreed. One message purportedly from Rhodes read: “Look I WAS THERE. I WAS RIGHT OUTSIDE. Patriots stormed in. Not Antifa. And I don’t blame them. They were justifiably pissed off.” Rhodes is not accused of entering the Capitol building during the attack.
In other messages included in Vallejo’s motion, members of the group question the authenticity of the social media video of Trump urging the mob to “go home.”
“Sir, our Commander in Chief has just ordered us to go home,” Vallejo texted him on the afternoon of Jan. 6, according to the documents. “POTUS said we’re so sweet. Please go home. Weirdest pre-recorded message I’ve ever heard,” another member of the group seemed to reply.
A participant believed to be accused of being an Oath Keepers conspirator, Kelly Meggs, wrote in another exchange that he tried to contact accused Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio before the Capitol attack, after learning of the possible arrest of Tarrio in an unrelated case. Meggs is listed as “GATOR” in the message logs, a nickname also referenced in the federal charging documents against him.
Meggs, Vallejo and Rhodes have all pleaded not guilty to multiple federal charges stemming from their alleged involvement in the riots and intend to fight the charges at trial later this year. Tarrio was arrested last month and charged with conspiracy but he is not accused of entering the building. He has also pleaded not guilty.
In other messages included in the court file, Rhodes indicated that the mob was “taking over” after Trump showed “no intention” to act and compared January 6, 2021 to the “Boston Massacre” in the hours after. at the peak of violence.
Jackson did not respond to questions from CBS News about any communication with accused members of the Oath Keepers. Instead, his spokesperson issued a written statement to CBS News, saying, “Like many public figures, Rep. Jackson is frequently talked about by people he doesn’t know. He doesn’t know or have spoken to the people in question. In fact, stayed with the Capitol Police to help defend the House floor and was one of the last members to be evacuated.”
A federal judge in Washington will consider Vallejo’s bid to be released from detention during oral arguments scheduled for next week.