6 more linked to Oath Keepers charged in Capitol attack

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FILE - In this Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, file photo, violent protesters storm the Capitol, in Washington. People charged in the attack on the U.S. Capitol left behind a trove of videos and messages that have helped federal authorities build cases. In nearly half of the more than 200 federal cases stemming from the attack, authorities have cited evidence that an insurrectionist appeared to have been inspired by conspiracy theories or extremist ideologies, according to an Associated Press review of court records. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Six more people linked to the far-right Oath Keepers militia group have been indicted on charges that they planned and coordinated with one another in the attack on the U.S. Capitol, authorities said Friday.

The case against those affiliated with the Oath Keepers is the largest conspiracy case brought by the U.S. Justice Department so far in the Jan. 6 insurrection. The six new people arrested this week are indicted alongside three others who were charged last month with plotting to undo President Joe Biden's victory.

Authorities say the defendants prepared for weeks ahead of the attack, attended training sessions and recruited others. They donned tactical vests and helmets, moved in an organized fashion as they advanced on the Capitol and communicated with one another during the siege, prosecutors say. Several defendants formed a “stack” formation used by military infantrymen, marching the Capitol steps with their hand on the shoulder of the person in front of them, authorities said.

The new arrests include an Ohio couple, Sandra and Bennie Parker. The others facing charges are: Graydon Young of Englewood, Florida; his sister, Laura Steele of Thomasville, North Carolina; Kelly Meggs and his wife Connie Meggs, of Dunnellon, Florida.

Kelly Meggs, who authorities say is the leader of the Florida chapter of the Oath Keepers, wrote in a Facebook message in December: “Trump said It’s gonna be wild!!!!!!! It’s gonna be wild!!!!!!! He wants us to make it WILD that’s what he’s saying. He called us all to the Capitol and wants us to make it wild!!!," according to court documents.

Later that month, authorities say Young reached out to a company that does firearms and combat training about a rifle class for four people, according to the indictment.

Authorities say Bennie Parker was in contact with an Oath Keepers member who was arrested last month, Jessica Watkins, leading up to the trip to Washington, discussing things like the uniforms and gear they would bring on Jan. 6. Authorities say Sandra Parker entered the Capitol while her husband stayed in contact outside.

On Jan. 9, Watkins told Bennie Parker by text she thought the FBI was only interested in people “who destroyed things,” according to the complaint.