A new indictment issued by a grand jury expands the number of Oath Keepers accused of conspiring to disrupt the certification of the electoral vote in the presidential election from 12 to 16, adding four new defendants.
The indictment, which was received by the federal courts on May 26 but only filed on Sunday, adds three Florida men to the list of defendants: Joseph Hackett, 50, of Sarasota; Jason Dolan, 44, of Wellington; and William Isaacs, 21, of Kissimmee. Dolan and Isaacs were both arrested on May 27 and made initial appearances the same day. Hackett was arrested on May 28. Information about a fourth defendant is redacted from the indictment published on Sunday, suggesting that this person is not yet in custody.
The new indictment alleges that Hackett, Dolan and Isaacs participated in a Jan. 3 Signal group message titled "OK FL DC OP Jan 6," along with Kelly Meggs, Kenneth Harrelson, Graydon Young and Jessica Watkins, who have already been indicted. The government alleges that Dolan traveled in a van with Harrelson to Washington DC, and that the two men joined the crowd on the central east steps of the Capitol at 2:21 p.m. on Jan. 6.
The indictment also alleges that Hackett and Isaacs joined the infamous "stack" with co-defendants Watkins, Young, Kelly Meggs, Connie Meggs, Donovan Crowl, Sandra Parker and Laura Steele that snaked through the crowd up the steps on the east side of the Capitol, with each member keeping at least one hand on the shoulder of the person in front of them. By 2:39 p.m., according to the government, the stack participants, along with Harrelson and Dolan, had forcibly entered the Capitol.
The new indictment also provides additional detail about a "quick reaction force" staged outside of DC as a contingency effort to provide weapons to the Oath Keepers.
The filing indicates that Thomas Edward Caldwell, another defendant, emailed several maps to an as-yet-unidentified conspirator identified in court filings as "Person Three" on Jan. 4. In a message accompanying the maps, Caldwell reportedly wrote that the maps "walk you from the hotel" in northern Virginia where the Oath Keepers had agreed to stash weapons "into DC and east toward the target area on multiple roads running west to east including M street and P street, two of my favorites."
M Street runs east from the Wharf Marina while P Street is near Southwest Waterfront Park, two locations on the Washington Channel, which empties into the Potomac River.
The new indictment also provides a clearer picture of Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes' mindset in the months leading up to the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol. In mid-December, Rhodes had joined retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn in publicly calling for President Trump to invoke the Insurrection Act. During an appearance on the internet radio show "Health Ranger Report" with Mike Adams in December, Rhodes said, "We are letting him know that we, the veterans, are available…. And we let him know that, yes, all he has to do is call on us, whether it's a tweet, or several other mechanisms he has to get messages to us and simply say that 'I call on you to come and defend the White House and to defend me as the commander in chief.' And we'll be there. And under his command as a militia, we'll have no problem going into DC because we'll have protection because we'll be called up under his service."
According to the new indictment, Rhodes told those attending a Nov. 9 GoToMeeting session: "We're going to defend the president, the duly elected president, and we call on him to do what needs to be done to save our country. Because if you guys don't, you're going to be in a bloody, bloody civil war, and a bloody — you can call it an insurrection or you can call it a war or fight."
Rhodes' instructions to his followers during the Nov. 9 session suggest that he hoped that he viewed the Oath Keepers as the shock troops for quelling left-wing dissent, while Trump clung to power by invoking the Insurrection Act.
"If the fight comes, let the fight come," Rhodes reportedly said during the meeting. "Let antifa — if they go kinetic on us, then we'll go kinetic on them. I'm willing to sacrifice myself for that. Let the fight start there. That will give President Trump what he needs, frankly. If things go kinetic, good. If they throw bombs at us and shoot us, great, because that brings the president his reason and rationale for dropping the Insurrection Act."
As it turned out, Trump refrained from invoking the Insurrection. Antifascists turned out in diminishing numbers to counter-protest pro-Trump mobilizations in Washington DC on Nov. 14 and Dec. 12, and then virtually stood down with the exception of some individuals discretely gathering documentation on Jan. 6.
Washington DC's strict gun regulations prevented the Oath Keepers from carrying weapons in DC in the absence of Trump formally enlisting them as a militia, necessitating them to stage the so-called "quick reaction force" across the Potomac in Virginia.
"I do want some Oath Keepers to stay on the outside, and to stay fully armed and prepared to go in armed, if they have to," Rhodes said. "So, our posture's gonna be that we're posted outside of DC, um, awaiting the president's orders…. We hope he will give us the orders. We want him to declare an insurrection, and to call us up as the militia."