Oath Keepers leader Kelly Meggs should be released from jail in order to prepare for the immediate start of his Jan. 6-related criminal trial, according to an emergency motion filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Washington D.C.
A motion (pdf) and memorandum of law (pdf) filed by attorney Jonathon Moseley allege the prosecution has violated Meggs’s constitutional right to a speedy trial and—because Meggs remains jailed during trial delays—his right to due process under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The motion was filed before U.S. District Judge Amit P. Mehta.
Meggs was charged in January along with 10 other Oath Keepers and alleged associates with seditious conspiracy, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, and four other counts springing from protests and rioting at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Trial in the case might not begin until September.
Prosecutors allege Oath Keepers leaders and members conspired to attack the Capitol on Jan. 6, forcing their way into the building with the intention of preventing certification of the presidential election results by a joint session of Congress.
Ten of the 11 defendants have pleaded not guilty to all charges. One Oath Keepers member, Joshua James of Arab, Alabama, pleaded guilty to seditious conspiracy and will likely testify against the other Oath Keepers defendants.
‘Waterfalls of Worthless Junk’
The motion filed April 7 challenged some of the key evidence in the Oath Keepers cases. It argued that trial delays ascribed to the complexity of the criminal case are, in essence, red herrings because the U.S. Justice Department created the situation when it indicted a large number of people for “political or public relations purposes.”
“The train wreck here was created by the government,” Moseley wrote.
The huge amount of evidence the government is distributing under discovery rules in the Oath Keepers case and other Jan. 6 cases includes “waterfalls of worthless junk” while prosecutors ignore detailed requests for specific exculpatory evidence, the filing said.
“The government is clearly not ready to proceed to trial and will lose at trial, having made outlandish claims it can never prove,” Moseley wrote.
William Miller, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington, said, “We typically do not comment on pending cases and have no comment.”
The filing said new details contained in FBI interviews of an unindicted member of the Oath Keepers “debunk almost every charge against Kelly Meggs.”
An Oath Keepers member identified only as Person Ten told the FBI on May 4, 2021, that there was never any discussion by him or other Oath Keepers about taking violent action if the presidential election did not produce the desired result. Person Ten said there was no pre-planning or planning on Jan. 6 to incite riots at the Capitol, forcibly enter the building, or disrupt the transfer of presidential power.
Person Ten told the FBI there was no plan for the Oath Keepers to use a military-style “stack formation” to enter the Capitol. He said Meggs told him on an encrypted chat message that the Florida Oath Keepers went into the Capitol Jan. 6 to assist to law enforcement officers who were being accosted by rioters.
Rhodes: Oath Keepers Assisted Police
In a recent interview with The Epoch Times, Oath Keepers founder Elmer Stewart Rhodes III said the Oath Keepers protected U.S. Capitol Police officer Harry Dunn, who was surrounded by angry supporters of President Donald Trump in a hallway. Rhodes is one of the 11 Oath Keepers charged in the case.
“They did protect a black police officer who was armed with an M4/AR-15 and was very agitated, scared-looking, and was surrounded by a bunch of yelling Trump supporters,” Rhodes said.
“The Oath Keepers jumped in between and dialed it all back, calmed him down, calmed the Trump supporters down, and escorted that black police officer to other Capitol police officers and hooked him up with his buddies. So that he wasn’t by himself.”
Rhodes said he mentioned the race of the officer because his group is often falsely maligned as racist and composed of white supremacists.
Moseley previously told The Epoch Times that surveillance video from the hallway where the incident occurred was missing from the government’s evidence database.
Person Ten told the FBI on May 4, 2021, that the overarching role of the Oath Keepers on Jan. 6 was to provide security for people who were speaking at various events that day, according to Moseley’s memorandum of law.
Person Ten said at a dinner meeting at an Olive Garden restaurant later on Jan. 6, Rhodes mentioned that he had hoped Trump would invoke the Insurrection Act to call up a lawful militia. “Rhodes wanted to be in for the long haul to assist Trump,” Person Ten said, according to the April 7 filing.
Rhodes told The Epoch Times the same thing in the March interview.
“I did declare publicly that we would have a contingency plan that if President Trump invoked the Insurrection Act, and needed us to protect the White House and protect him because Antifa had threatened, it swore they were going to lay siege to the White House and remove Trump by force after the election,” he said.
“So we just said, ‘Hey, if the president goes to the Insurrection Act—but only if—we would then respond if he calls us up as the militia,’ which he certainly can do under federal statutes.”
Moseley said Meggs’ Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial has been violated, and judges “have been denying defendants a public trial on the concern that potential witnesses might listen to the public-access lines required due to Covid-19…” Judges shut down access to dial-in audio in the three completed Jan. 6 trials.
He accused prosecutors of “rampant disobedience” by refusing Meggs’s requests to have his smart phone returned so he can use it for trial preparation, and for information on “who has information within the U.S. government” so the defense can better identify potential witnesses.
Tainting Jury Pool?
The filing accused prosecutors of “dumping a tsunami of irrelevant junk upon the defendants and calling that disclosure.” It also accused members of Congress and federal judges of tainting the potential jury pool.
“The courts and Congress have repeatedly smeared the defendants before the prospective jurors of the District of Columbia, including the presiding judge in this case and most other judges of this District, openly declaring the defendants to be guilty before their trials have started.”
Meggs should not have been held without bail because he did not commit violence or possess a dangerous weapon on Jan. 6, Moseley wrote. The accusation that Meggs damaged property is debunked by evidence presented to a grand jury, the motion said.
Moseley said Meggs was charged with damaging a Capitol window or aiding and abetting someone with damaging the window, even though the damage in question occurred 25 minutes before Meggs was in the area.
“How many people are charged with breaking the same window?” the motion asked. “Kelly Meggs could not have aided and abetted anyone at 2:39 p.m. to depredate the window or anything in that area which occurred at 2:15 p.m. when he was not yet in the vicinity. Not unless Kelly Meggs owns a time machine we don’t know about.”
Just as Moseley filed his emergency motion, a question arose about who will continue to defend Meggs in the case. Late last week, a three-judge panel in Prince William County, Virginia, voted to suspend Moseley’s license to practice law in the commonwealth.
A status hearing on the Meggs case and his legal representation was scheduled for April 7 before Judge Mehta, but never took place.
A brief summary of the license revocation on the Virginia State Bar website says the action was for “violating professional rules that govern safekeeping property; meritorious claims and contentions; candor toward the tribunal; fairness to opposing party and counsel; unauthorized practice of law, multi-jurisdictional practice of law; bar admission and disciplinary matters; judicial officials; and misconduct.”
Moseley said he will challenge the revocation. “I’m going to appeal,” he told The Epoch Times. “That will be a very long process.”
Moseley is also a member of the U.S. District Court bar in Washington D.C. He was first admitted to the Virginia Bar Association in 1997.
Moseley said he wishes the media would pay attention to the “obvious contradictions” in the Meggs case instead of “focusing on basically an ad hominem attack.”