Two men arrested in connection with the January 6 Capitol riot are facing new conspiracy and assault charges while awaiting trial in federal custody, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced today.
Ronald Sandlin, 34, of Memphis and Nathan DeGrave, 32, of Clark County, Nevada had their charges increased in a superseding indictment unsealed last week, authorities say. Both men pleaded not guilty to all charges.
"Sandlin and DeGrave planned to interfere with the peaceful transition of presidential power, beginning in December 2020," the DOJ stated. "On Dec. 23, 2020, Sandlin posted to Facebook asking who else was traveling to Washington. DeGrave replied that he was considering joining him and the two exchanged further messages about the activities in D.C."
Sandlin and DeGrave were joined in the planning by a third man, Josiah Colt, but he pleaded guilty in July, the DOJ said. The three reportedly joined in a group chat in which "they discussed shipping guns and shared meeting information."
Here's how the DOJ described their interactions:
"On the day of the riots, Sandlin, DeGrave and Colt met in a hotel room in Maryland and recorded video discussions for a social media audience. In one video, Colt mentioned a "debate we've been having for days now: should we carry our guns or not?'"
DeGrave replied that "for the camera's sake, we're not going to carry."
Later that day, the defendants created a video in which Sandlin called on 'fellow patriots' to watch his live stream on social media, the DOJ reported. In the video, he stated four times that 'freedom is paid for with blood.' He also stated that 'there is going to be violence.'"
While inside the Capitol, Sandlin and DeGrave pushed several U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) officers guarding an exterior door to the Capitol rotunda. DeGrave shouted, "get the f*** through" and "kick [the door] the f*** open," and Sandlin attempted to rip the helmet off an officer.
And there was this from the DOJ:
"After forcing open the door, the defendants went together up a set of stairs in search of the Senate Chamber. As they walked, Colt stated numerous times to Sandlin and DeGrave, "let's get to the Senate," adding, "where they're meeting." The defendants eventually reached the Senate Gallery where they encountered several USCP officers who were attempting to lock the doors to prevent rioters from entering. Sandlin and DeGrave tried to wrestle past the officers and eventually managed to enter the Gallery – a balcony overlooking the Senate Chamber.
Colt climbed into the Senate Chamber and sat in a chair reserved for the Vice President. While Colt was on the floor of the Chamber, DeGrave shouted at him and others to "take laptops, paperwork, take everything."
"Before exiting the Capitol, Sandlin stopped to live stream himself smoking marijuana inside."
Sandlin and DeGrave have both detained since last winter. Sandlin has received a bit more attention, first for proclaiming to his family that he was proud about what he had done -- right after contritely saying in court that it was "shameful" -- and also for boasting about the historic significance of smoking weed at the riot.
You can read the superseding indictments of Sandlin and DeGrave here.