Seditious Conspiracy: Third Oath Keeper Enters Guilty Plea - Rolling Stone
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The Seditious Conspiracy Thickens: Third Oath Keeper Pleads Guilty to Jan. 6 Plot, Links Stewart Rhodes to Trump Inner Circle

William Todd Wilson is the latest militia member to turn on Rhodes, the group’s founder and alleged ringleader of the plot to keep the former president in power by force

An Oath Keeper from Idaho in Bozeman, Montana. The "Oath Keepers" are a national, ultra-rightwing "Patriot" group comprised of former and active military, police and public safety personnel who have taken an oath to "uphold the Constitution" and to refuse to follow orders that they decide are unconstitutional. (Photo by William Campbell/Corbis via Getty Images)An Oath Keeper from Idaho in Bozeman, Montana. The "Oath Keepers" are a national, ultra-rightwing "Patriot" group comprised of former and active military, police and public safety personnel who have taken an oath to "uphold the Constitution" and to refuse to follow orders that they decide are unconstitutional. (Photo by William Campbell/Corbis via Getty Images)

The Oath Keepers.

William Campbell/Corbis/Getty Images

A third Oath Keepers militiaman entered a guilty plea on Wednesday for participating in a “seditious conspiracy” to keep Donald Trump in office by use of force — a plot allegedly masterminded by Rhodes.

William Todd Wilson, 45, is an Oath Keeper from North Carolina who wasn’t included in the initial conspiracy indictment filed back in January. Wilson was formally charged Tuesday, shortly in advance of his plea hearing, where Wilson also pleaded guilty to obstructing the official proceeding of the Electoral College. Both crimes carry penalties of up to 20 years in prison. Wilson is cooperating with federal investigators.

Wilson may have information indicating close contacts between the Oath Keepers and Trump’s inner circle. The plea documents describe how, on the night of Jan. 6, after the events at the Capitol had wound down, Oath Keepers had regrouped at the Phoenix Hotel.

Gathering in a private suite, Rhodes allegedly placed a phone call to an individual Rhodes believed could put him directly in contact with Trump, and lobbied for the president to unleash the Oath Keepers to continue the violent struggle. The court document reads:

Rhodes then called an individual over speaker phone. Wilson heard Rhodes repeatedly implore the individual to tell President Trump to call upon groups like the Oath Keepers to forcibly oppose the transfer of power. This individual denied Rhodes’s request to speak directly with President Trump. After the call ended, Rhodes stated to the group, “I just want to fight.”

The plea documents describe Wilson as a veteran of both the military and law enforcement, who first joined the Oath Keepers in 2016. He led a chapter of the militia in North Carolina’s rural Sampson County. According to the Statement of Offense, Wilson adheres to the Oath Keepers ideology that “the federal government has been co-opted by a cabal of elites actively trying to strip American citizens of their rights.”

Wilson was a member of encrypted Oath Keeper chat groups led by Rhodes, according to the new court documents. On Nov. 5, 2020, just days after the presidential election, Rhodes allegedly messaged his deputies: “We aren’t getting through this without a civil war. Too late for that. Prepare your mind, body, spirit.”

During a group video conference on Nov. 9,  Rhodes “outlined a plan to stop the lawful transfer of power,” the government alleges and told his troops: “You’re from Oath Keepers. You got a responsibility and duty. You raised your freaking right hand. You swore that oath . . . you got to fight.”

By mid-December, the plea documents state, Wilson was posting his own messages advocating violence, including: “It is time to fight!”

Wilson and others arrived near Washington, D.C., in advance of Jan. 6, 2021. Per court documents, Wilson’s weapons cache included an “AR-15-style rifle, a 9-millimeter pistol, approximately 200 rounds of ammunition, body armor, a camouflaged combat uniform, pepper spray, a large walking stick intended for use as a weapon, and a pocketknife.” He stayed in a room at the Hilton Garden Inn Hotel in Vienna, Virginia, that Rhodes had allegedly paid for.

According to Wilson’s charging documents, he and fellow Oath Keepers were “prepared to answer Rhodes’ call to take up arms at Rhodes’ direction.” The feds also alleged Wilson was part of a plot to amass caches of weapons “on the outskirts of Washington D.C.” as part of Oath Keeper “quick reaction force” teams, “and planned to use them in support of their plot to halt the lawful transfer of power” from Trump to incoming President Joe Biden.

At about 2 P.M. on the day of Jan. 6, Wilson was with Rhodes on the Hill. The plea document describes how “Wilson, Rhodes, and others bypassed barricades and Capitol Police officers, and unlawfully entered the restricted grounds of the Capitol.” The court documents allege that “Wilson heard Rhodes proclaim that they were in the midst of a ‘civil war.'”

Wilson was the first Oath Keeper to breach the Capitol building itself. He made his way to a mob seeking to open the Rotunda doors from the inside. They were soon successful, enabling a group of 14 other Oath Keepers to breach the Capitol. Wilson filmed their arrival, in military “stack” formation, on his cell phone. “In taking such actions,” the plea documents say, “Wilson intended to influence or affect the conduct of the United States government by intimidation or coercion.”

Wilson’s decision to plead guilty and become a cooperating witness continues a rash of bad news for Rhodes. In recent weeks, Oath Keeper members Brian Ulrich and Joshua James also pleaded guilty to the seditious plot, pointing to Rhodes as their leader, and vowing to cooperate with prosecutors.

Read the “Statement of Offense” below:

In This Article: Oath Keepers, Stewart Rhodes

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