Oath Keeper Chief William Todd Wilson of NC pleaded guilty to sedition during Jan. 6 Capitol riot
Wilson hid the weapons as part of “rapid reaction force” teams waiting at various hotels outside the district, ready to be summoned if needed during the Jan. 6 riot, court records show.
On Wednesday, Wilson admitted he traveled from Tysons Corner to the Capitol with Oath Keepers Chief Stewart Rhodes that morning, entered the Capitol from the west side and then joined a crowd of people who had forced open the rotunda doors on the east side of the building. allowing a column of fellow Oath Keepers to join the fray.
When the Capitol was finally cleared, Wilson joined Rhodes in a suite at the Phoenix Park Hotel, a few blocks from the Capitol, and listened to Rhodes call someone on a speakerphone, Wilson admitted. Wilson told investigators he heard “Rhodes repeatedly imploring the individual to tell President Trump to call on groups like the Oath Keepers to forcibly oppose the transfer of power,” court records show. . “This individual has denied Rhodes’ request to speak directly with President Trump. After the call ended, Rhodes told the group, “I just want to fight.”
The “person” on the other end of the call has not been identified.
On Wednesday, Wilson, 44, became the third member of the Oath Keepers to plead guilty to seditious conspiracy and obstruction of official process, and to agree to cooperate fully with the government. Wilson’s plea agreement, acknowledging his cooperation, calculates his likely sentence to be 63 to 78 months in prison. Wilson had never been arrested before and pleaded guilty to a two-count information filed Wednesday during his plea hearing.
On January 6, the defendant pleads guilty to seditious conspiracy in the attack on the Capitol
Rhodes and nine other members of the Oath Keepers have pleaded not guilty and are awaiting trial. Fellow oath keepers Joshua James, 34, of Alabama, and Brian Ulrich, 44, of Georgia, also pleaded sedition and obstruction, and also said they brought firearms into the suburbs of Virginia in anticipation of violence at the Capitol.
Prosecutors appear to be gradually connecting groups that organized before Jan. 6, such as the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys, with those linked to the Trump White House. James and Ulrich were seen providing security for Roger Stone, a close adviser to Trump, at a January 5 rally ahead of the attack on the Capitol. And court documents from Wednesday indicate that an Oath Keepers group discussion in December 2020 included an article about Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, in which Flynn said it was “time for Americans fearing God to fight”.
Wilson replied in the chat, “It’s time to fight!”
Rhodes began campaigning for a response to Joe Biden’s election two days after the vote, according to the ticket filed in Wilson’s case, saying, “We won’t get away with this without a civil war.” In an online meeting, the minutes signed last month by Wilson said: “Rhodes outlined a plan to stop the lawful transfer of power, including preparations for the use of force and urged those who listen to participate: ‘You are from Oath Keepers . You have a responsibility and a duty. You raised your fucking right hand. You swore this oath… you must fight.’
Second Oath Keepers member pleads guilty to seditious conspiracy
Wilson, Rhodes and other prominent members of the Oath Keepers stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn, just off Chain Bridge Road at Tysons Corner, on the night of January 5, court records show. The next morning, Rhodes sent a message to a group of oath keepers that “we will have several well-equipped QRFs [quick reaction forces] outside of DC. Prosecutors said another group of oath keepers were staying and keeping weapons at a Quality Inn in the Ballston area of Arlington as “QRF”.
“Wilson was prepared to retrieve his weapons for use in Washington, DC, if called upon to do so,” he admitted in the court filing.
On January 6, Wilson, Rhodes, and other Oathkeepers leaders traveled in a car from Tysons Corner to the district and joined the large crowd outside the Capitol. Rhodes is not accused of entering the Capitol, but Wilson admits he did shortly after 2:30 p.m., “the first of [Oath Keepers] co-conspirators to break through the building.
Wilson then walked through the east side rotunda and helped force open the east side doors at 2:39 p.m., allowing 14 Oathkeepers, many wearing paramilitary clothing and Oathkeepers’ patches, into a pile formation of military style, to enter the Capitol, says the ticket. Wilson reconnected with Rhodes outside the Capitol at 2:55 p.m., and “Rhodes seemed pleased that Wilson and others entered the interior of the Capitol,” according to the minutes.
Wilson, Rhodes and others left the Capitol around 5 p.m. and went to the Phoenix Park Hotel at F and North Capitol streets near Union Station, according to the court filing, where Wilson listened to Rhodes ask someone one if he could speak directly with Trump.
Later that night, the group returned to Tysons Corner, according to the ticket, where Rhodes “continued to discuss the need to prepare for a larger fight against the government akin to the American Revolutionary War. “. The group then discussed erasing incriminating material from their phones. Wilson told the FBI that after returning to North Carolina, he dumped his cellphone in the Atlantic Ocean.
Rhodes has repeatedly denied wrongdoing and accused prosecutors of fabricating a non-existent conspiracy. A lawyer for him could not immediately be reached on Wednesday evening.
Spencer S. Hsu contributed to this report.
An earlier version of this article stated that Roger Stone was at a rally on January 6, 2021, before the attack on the Capitol. He was at a rally on January 5, 2021. This article has been corrected.