Oath members testify that the group was preparing

Washington — a distant member swearers Told a jury on Tuesday that he traveled to Washington, D.C. and raided US Capitol on January 6, 2021In an effort to prevent Congress from attesting to President Biden’s election victory.

“I threw my rifle and pistol into the car … and eventually ended up on the steps of the Capitol, going to the Capitol building, to try and stop Congress from certifying [Biden’s presidency]”Jason Dolan testified during Trial of five oath-takers – including founder stewart rhodes Who is accused of conspiring to use force to prevent the peaceful transfer of power.

Dolan, a former member of the Florida contingent of the militia group, was called as a government witness when he pleaded guilty to conspiracy and obstructing Congress, admitted to entering the Capitol and being part of a mob that Stopped the members of Congress from performing their duty. As part of his plea deal, Dolan agreed to cooperate with the Justice Department’s ongoing investigation into the violations, including those dealing directly with cases he once called fellow group members.

“I helped coordinate. I helped with the plan,” Dolan admitted on the stand Tuesday, “I talked about my desire and how I wanted to stop what I saw as an illegitimate government. … [from] Taking power.”

Capitol Riot Oath Keepers
Members of the Oath Keepers on the Eastern Front of the US Capitol on January 6, 2021 in Washington.

Manuel Balce Seneta / AP

The rioters-turned-government witness offered new insight into the planning, coordination and motivation behind the alleged involvement of sworn-in attackers in the January 6 attack. Rhodes and codefendants Kelly Meigs, Kenneth Harrelson, Jessica Watkins and Thomas Caldwell are accused of leading that fight. All have pleaded not guilty and their defense attorneys say their clients were in Washington, D.C. that day to serve as security and emergency responders.

Dolan did not meet the leader of the group until after the attack. But he testified that Rhodes had spoken out about the need to take action—President Donald Trump enacted a centuries-old law known as the Rebellion Act and vowed to join his fight to stay in power. called upon. And if Trump failed them, Dolan testified, the group was ready to take matters into their own hands.

He had to be prepared to “fight back against an illegitimate government and support what we saw as the rightful president against an illegitimate president,” Dolan said.

“We were preparing for a trip to DC,” he recalled, adding that some memories may not be entirely clear. “If need be, to take up arms and fight back because that’s what we’re talking about.”

Dolan described the group’s perceived desire not as an explicit call to action, but as an implicit “duration” of their conversation. “We have to fight back … it was a feeling,” he said.

Dolan is the first member of the oath-taking who pleaded guilty to the crime on January 6 and testified as a witness. seditious conspiracy The trial, which is now in its third week. Other oath-takers who confessed to the crime may testify in the coming days.

“How do you fight?” asked prosecutor Jeffrey Nestor.

“Any way we could,” replied Dolan.

Under cross-examination by defense attorneys later, on Wednesday, Dolan told the jury that he never received an operating order for January 6, that is, on behalf of anyone carrying out a plan to overthrow an “illegitimate government”. No clear instructions were given.

Driven by his willingness to support Trump’s unfounded claims of election fraud — “it didn’t look like he was going to lose,” he said Tuesday. Dolan testified that he had traveled to Washington, D.C. with his firearms and a group that included defendant Kenneth Harrelson.

He said he stored his guns in a Virginia hotel room a few days before the attack to avoid breaking Washington, D.C.’s strict firearms laws, and later made his way to the capital city on January 6. Dolan testified that it was his understanding that the group would either return to their hotels to obtain their weapons or deliver them to DC if needed.

“If President Trump announces the Insurgency Act, we will work with anti-government forces or with pro-government forces,” Dolan said. The witness explained that he had little knowledge of the mysterious law that was so central to the alleged conspiracy he was describing and instead relied on the instruction of Rhodes and others.

Trump’s call never came.

Once at the Capitol, Dolan said he saw a change in the crowd as Trump supporters felt then-Vice President Mike Pence was not going to aid Trump’s attempt to reverse the election.

“I was angry. You could almost feel the change in the crowd. The crowd was angry,” he described.

Dolan said that if there was anything to stop election certification, it would be mobs.

During the trial, prosecutors had yet to provide sufficient evidence that the Oath Keepers’ plans for January 6 actually included attacking the Capitol itself—a clear vulnerability that defense attorneys seized during the cross-examination. But Dolan’s testimony offered some of the first allegations that the group was at the Capitol to prevent a peaceful transfer of power.

“I wanted them to withhold the authentication of the election,” Dolan said as Nestler showed jury videos of Oath Keepers inside the Capitol, some members of the crowd shouting “treason.”

“I was betrayed and I wanted them to hear and feel the anger, the frustration, the anger that I felt.”

Dolan, who said he now faces between five and seven years in prison for his admitted crimes, testified that although he received no promise from the government for his testimony, he expected the stand. But his work would prompt prosecutors to recommend a lower prison. Time Judge Amit Mehta on his behalf. Mehta is the presiding judge in Dolan’s case and the trial is currently underway.

After exiting the Capitol building on January 6, Dolan said he saw Meigs and Rhodes outside, his first personal encounter with the group’s founder.

“Looking back on it, I think I was very naive, downright stupid with some of my decisions. I’m grateful that – President Trump didn’t do anything like invoke the Insurgency Act at the time because I think .. . There would have been a lot of violence with him,” Dolan reflected.

Tuesday’s proceedings also included testimony from US Capitol Police Captain Ronald Ortega, a veteran of the force, who described the events of January 6 from his perspective.

In the morning, Mehta informed the legal teams that a jury member had tested positive for COVID-19 and was therefore removed from service. One of the four alternate jurors selected at the start of the trial filled the seat and Mehta said the court examined the jurors and selected them to ensure that everyone felt comfortable with the proceedings.

John Woolley and Keshia Butts contributed to this report.

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