Oath Keeper Begins Cooperating With Feds In Jan 6 Investigation

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Another Trump supporter who was hit with federal criminal charges in connection to the Capitol riot is pleading guilty. That Trump supporter, Caleb Berry, was set to enter a guilty plea this Tuesday to a pair of serious charges, including conspiracy and obstruction of an official proceeding, each of which can carry lengthy prison sentences, although pleading guilty instead of going through a trial could shorten the potential prison time that Berry eventually receives. Berry is one of those charged as part of a case against members of the far-right militia group known as the Oath Keepers. That case alleges a broad, pre-riot conspiracy to perpetrate violence on defendants’ parts.

Berry is admitting to an allegation that, shortly before the riot, he and others stashed weapons at a hotel in the D.C. vicinity. Notably, this confirmation of stashed weapons undercuts one of the repeated false claims that Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) has spread about the riot. In short, Johnson has disputed the characterization of what happened as an “armed insurrection” — but just because just about every individual wasn’t carrying a gun doesn’t mean that weaponry wasn’t involved with and connected to what happened. Johnson also claimed at one point that no violence had even unfolded on the Senate side of the Capitol building during the riot, which is flat-out incorrect.

At the riot, Berry was also part of the “stack” that drew widespread attention for moving up the Capitol steps in an organized formation amid the violence. That group consisted of individuals dressed in tactical gear who walked into the Caoitol, with their hands on the shoulders of individual, fellow rioters in front of them. Berry has apparently been cooperating with federal authorities, with Buzzfeed reporter Zoe Tillman noting that prosecutors requested to keep proceedings sealed in order to allow time for Berry to cooperate, which would generally entail providing information to authorities that is relevant to other investigative efforts. Other Capitol riot defendants have also agreed to cooperate with authorities.

Overall, more than 530 Trump supporters have been criminally charged by federal authorities for participating in the Capitol violence in some capacity. Only one of those defendants who’d been charged with a felony has so far been sentenced. Paul Hodgkins, a Florida resident who carried a pro-Trump flag onto the floor of the Senate as rioters swarmed the building, has been sentenced to eight months in jail after pleading guilty to obstructing an official proceeding.