Fifth Oath Keepers affiliate convicted of conspiring to stop 2020 vote certification
Four people tied to the Oath Keepers, on trial for their actions related to the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack, were found guilty Monday of conspiring to obstruct the certification of Joe Biden's 2020 election win, the most serious charge they faced.
Laura Steele of North Carolina, Sandra Parker of Ohio, Connie Meggs of Florida and William Isaacs of Florida were convicted Monday of conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding. A fifth person tied to the group, Ohioan Bennie Parker, was convicted of the charge on Tuesday.
The convictions are an important victory for the Justice Department, which has steadily worked towards imposing consequences on people who they say plotted violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.The investigation into the attacks is one of the largest criminal investigations in the department’s history, and comes as some conservatives continue to promote the false claim the riots were peaceful.
Two of the six defendants were convicted on the lesser charge of entering and remaining on restricted grounds.
On Tuesday, a mistrial was declared on the count of obstruction of an official proceeding against Michael Greene of Indiana.
The defendants were all convicted of entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds. Steele, Sandra Parker, Meggs and Isaacs were convicted of all charges, including preventing a member of Congress from doing their duty.
The guilty verdicts follow the seditious conspiracy convictions of six other Oath Keepers, including leader Stewart Rhodes and a top deputy, Kelly Meggs, who is Connie Meggs' husband. The six defendants on trial were not charged with sedition, or conspiring to oppose the authority of the government by force.
Bennie and Sandra Parker, a married couple and the oldest Ohioans charged in the Capitol riot, traveled to D.C. on Jan. 6, 2021, as part of Oath Keeper Jessica Watkins' Ohio State Regular Militia, a dues-paying subset of the right-wing militia group. Watkins was tried with the first group of Oath Keepers and found guilty of four of the six charges she faced, including conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding.
Greene, who testified for the defense in the first Oath Keepers trial, was named an operations leader by Rhodes ahead of Jan. 6, according to prosecutors. He participated in a phone call that day between himself, Rhodes and Kelly Meggs; minutes after the call, a group of Oath Keepers entered the Capitol.
Steele, a former North Carolina police officer, is the sister of Oath Keeper Graydon Young, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy and obstruction charges in June 2021. Young testified for the government in the first Oath Keepers trial.
Defense attorneys argued that Isaacs, a 23-year-old Oath Keeper with autism, “hyper-fixated” on his role as a “security aid” to former President Donald Trump.
In another courtroom of D.C.'s federal courthouse, members of the right-wing extremist group Proud Boys face trial for sedition. Prosecutors could rest their case as soon as next week.
First Oath Keepers trial: Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes found guilty of seditious conspiracy in Jan. 6 attack
Second Oath Keepers trial: 4 more Oath Keepers convicted of seditious conspiracy in Jan. 6 Capitol attack
Proud Boys trial: Proud Boys on trial for charges stemming from Jan. 6 Capitol riot. What we know.
Jan. 6 arrests: Search through USA TODAY's database
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Six Oath Keepers affiliates convicted in connection with Jan. 6 attack