U.S

3 members of Oath Keepers paramilitary group indicted in federal court for role in Capitol riots

Three people associated with the paramilitary organization, the Oath Keepers, were indicted in federal court in the District of Columbia on Wednesday in connection with the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riots.

Jessica Marie Watkins, 38, and Donovan Ray Crowl, 50 – both of Champaign City, Ohio – and Thomas Caldwell, 65, of Clarke County, Va., were charged with conspiracy, obstructing an official proceeding, destruction of government property, and unlawful entry on restricted building or grounds.

FILE: Trump supporters try to break through a police barrier at the Capitol in Washington. 

FILE: Trump supporters try to break through a police barrier at the Capitol in Washington. 
(AP)

Bother Watkins and Crowl were arrested on Jan. 18, while Caldwell was arrested on Jan. 19, according to a press release from the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Per a criminal complaint filed on Jan. 19, all three were in communication before the Jan. 6 riot and coordinated their attack. The DOJ said all three are affiliated with the Oath Keepers, a paramilitary group that recruits current and former military, law enforcement, and first responder personnel. Watkins and Crowl are also members of the Ohio State Regular Militia.

The criminal complaint says the three documented their participation in the Capitol riots on social media. Caldwell posted messages on Facebook such as, “We are surging forward.  Doors breached[.]” and at 3:05 p.m. posted just, “Inside.”

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Watkins posted photos of herself and with Crowl on her Parler account and captioned a photo by stating: “Me before forcing entry into the Capitol Building. #stopthesteal2 #stormthecapitol #oathkeepers #ohiomilitia.”

She also posted a video of herself inside the Capitol with the caption: “Yeah. We stormed the Capitol today. Teargassed, the whole, 9. Pushed our way into the Rotunda. Made it into the Senate even. The news is lying (even Fox) about the Historical Events we created today.”

All three individuals were charged by criminal complaint. The maximum penalty for obstructing an official proceeding carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

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Federal authorities have charged more than 150 people in the Capitol siege, including some with links to right-wing extremist groups such as the Three Percenters and the Oath Keepers.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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