On Wednesday, the Justice Department announced the indictment of three militia figures affiliated with the far-right Oath Keepers group, on charges of conspiracy to obstruct Congress.
The three defendants are Jessica Marie Watkins and Donovan Ray Crowl of Champaign County, Ohio, and Thomas Caldwell of Clarke County, Virginia. They face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
"According to the indictment, the three defendants initiated their communications and coordination in November 2020 and continued through on or about Jan. 19, 2021, when Caldwell was arrested," said the DOJ announcement. "The exchanges vary in topics from a call to action to logistics, including lodging options, coordinating calls to discuss the plan, and joining forces with other Oath Keeper chapters. On Dec. 31, 2020, Caldwell posted, 'THIS IS OUR CALL TO ACTION, FREINDS! SEE YOU ON THE 6TH IN WASHINGTON, D.C. ALONG WITH 2 MILLION OTHER LIKE-MINDED PATRIOTS.' In a subsequent post on Jan. 2, 2021, Caldwell stated, 'It begins for real Jan 5 and 6 on Washington D.C. when we mobilize in the streets. Let them try to certify some crud on capitol hill with a million or more patriots in the streets. This kettle is set to boil…'"
Allegations about Crowl released by federal officials last week following his arrest suggested he was preparing for "literal war."
The Oath Keepers are a nationwide paramilitary organization, including many retired and active military and law enforcement, which has broadly been implicated in the assault on the Capitol that left five dead.