Tennessee man Edward Kelley, who participated in last year’s Trump-incited Capitol riot and is already facing federal criminal charges for assaulting police during the chaos, has been arrested again and remains detained after conspiring to kill police officers and FBI agents involved in building the case against him.
A second man, Austin Carter, was also arrested. The case against Kelley and Carter was driven by a third individual whose participation they sought. Carter eventually provided a list of names and other identifying information to the third individual, along with a flash drive showing at least one officer who participated in a search of Kelley’s residence around the time of his initial arrest in his Capitol riot case. The other individual tipped off local law enforcement on the day he received these materials from Carter, which originated with Kelley, the Capitol riot defendant. Within hours, the witness sat for an interview with the FBI, and the very next day they covertly recorded a series of conversations with both Kelley and Carter in which both directly outlined their intentions, including stockpiling weapons and ammunition and targeting a Knoxville office of the FBI.
All of these developments took place within the last week. The witness was provided a hit list and video footage on December 13, and charges against Kelley and Carter were unveiled three days later, on Friday. The case against the duo includes allegations of conspiracy, retaliating against a federal official, interstate communication of a threat, and solicitation to commit a crime of violence, and Carter also remained detained following the pair’s arrest, although a hearing on his detention status was scheduled for Wednesday. There were some three dozen names on the list Kelley made available to Carter and the cooperating witness.
A court filing in the case doesn’t specify how Kelley originally obtained the information, although it notes the witness recalled Kelley indicating he would later provide the details in a discussion earlier this month. The witness also recalled Kelley as a leader of the plans who talked about the group carrying out what he recalled Kelley to refer to as “recon missions and assassination missions” during that earlier December discussion.
The witness got Kelley and Carter to rather directly incriminate themselves during those recorded conversations. After Kelley discussed the others continuing with the efforts even if he was taken back into custody, a court document says “Witness 1 replied, “just to make sure I’m understanding which office, we’re going after the Knox one, right?” KELLEY replied “yes.”” It appears as though Kelley and Carter could end up with substantial sentences if found guilty. Under the part of federal law covering conspiracies to retaliate against federal officials or agents, details say a “conspiracy to murder” shall be punished according to the terms of any other such conspiracy — and those found guilty of such an act “shall be punished by imprisonment for any term of years or for life,” according to those rules.
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