Fifth Superseding Indictment Unsealed in Oath Keeper Conspiracy Case Related to Jan. 6 Capitol Breach
Two Additional Conspirators Identified, Charges Added in Eighteen-Defendant Conspiracy Case
One Florida man and one Georgia man were indicted last week for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, which disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress that was in the process of ascertaining and counting the electoral votes related to the presidential election. The indictment further charges co-defendants with additional federal offenses.
David Moerschel, 43, of Tampa, Florida, and Brian Ulrich, 43, of Guyton, Georgia, are charged with federal offenses that include conspiracy, obstruction of an official proceeding and aiding and abetting, and entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds. Moerschel is additionally charged with destruction of government property and aiding and abetting. Ulrich and Moerschel are the latest of 18 defendants to be charged in this case.
As alleged in the indictment, the defendants agreed to plan and participate in an operation to interfere with the certification of the electoral college vote by coordinating in advance with others, using websites and social media to recruit participants, and traveling to Washington, D.C., with paramilitary gear and supplies including firearms, tactical vests with plates, helmets and radio equipment.
According to the indictment, Moerschel attended planning meetings prior to Jan. 6, including a GoToMeeting titled “florida dc op planning chat” on Dec. 31, 2020, and “dc planning call” on Jan. 3. As alleged, he joined an invitation-only encrypted Signal group message titled “OK FL DC OP Jan 6” which Moerschel, co-defendants and leaders of the conspiracy used to communicate with one another and coordinate activity. On Jan. 4, co-defendant Kelly Meggs wrote in the chat: “Rally 3 pm if possible and need location DM but only those who will caravan.” On the same day, co-defendant Jessica Watkins wrote in the chat: “Where can we drop off weapons to the QRF team? I’d like to have the weapons secured prior to the Op tomorrow.”
Similarly, Ulrich was in communication with other defendants at least as early as Dec. 31, 2020, when he joined an invitation-only Signal group message titled “DC OP: Jan 6 21.” Ulrich messaged the chat: “The more patriots the merrier ‘gonna be wild” and “Someone can tell me if I’m crazy but I’m planning on having a backpack for regular use and then a separate backpack with my ammo load out with some basics that I can [just] switch to is shit truly the fan blades…” He added, “I will be the guy running around with the budget AR.” On Jan. 1, Ulrich messaged co-defendant Joshua James on Signal and asked, “Hey we told to bring guns and maybe stage them in VA?? But you are showing hotels in DC for Alabama. Are we bring[ing] guns or no[.] If so how will that work?” James responded, “[We’re] working on a Farm location[.] Some are bringing long rifles some sidearms…I’m bringing sidearm.” Ulrich traveled to Washington on Jan. 4 and stayed at the Mayflower Hotel.
On the afternoon of Jan. 6, at 2:22 p.m., Moerschel unlawfully entered the restricted Capitol grounds with several of the co-defendants. At 2:35 p.m., Moerschel joined with others known and unknown to form a column or “stack” of individuals wearing Oath Keepers clothing, patches, insignia, and battle gear. Together, the stack maneuvered in an organized fashion up the steps on the east side of the Capitol, each member keeping at least one hand on the shoulder of the other in front of them. Around 2:40 p.m., the stack forcibly entered the Capitol. While inside, the stack continued to move in an organized fashion and communicate with one another. Moerschel exited the Capitol at 2:54 p.m.
Meanwhile, around 2:30 p.m., Ulrich rode with others in a pair of golf carts toward the Capitol, at times swerving around law enforcement vehicles. Sometime after 2:33 p.m., Ulrich stood by co-defendants James Minuta and Jonathan Walden as they aggressively berated and taunted law enforcement officers in riot gear guarding the perimeter of the Capitol near the east side of the building. At 3:21 p.m, Ulrich entered the east side rotunda doors. He exited at 3:33 p.m. through the same doors, according to the indictment.
Shortly after 4 p.m., Ulrich and Moerschel gathered with co-defendants and others approximately 100 feet from the Capitol near the northeast corner of the building.
The superseding indictment unsealed today adds charges for previously arrested defendants, including Laura Steele, who is further charged with one count of civil disorder and tampering with documents and aiding and abetting. As alleged, on Jan. 7, Steele and co-defendant Graydon Young, who pleaded guilty in June, used a burn-pit in Steele’s backyard to burn and destroy evidence of their involvement in the attack on the Capitol.
Previously arrested defendant Jason Dolan is further charged with one count of civil disorder and aiding and abetting for pulling on the arm of a Capitol Police officer who was trying to hold back rioters who had broken through the barriers and started climbing up the stairs leading to the east rotunda door.
The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Department of Justice National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section. Valuable assistance was provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Middle District of Florida and the Southern District of Georgia.
The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office, as well as the Metropolitan Police Department, with significant assistance provided by the U.S. Capitol Police and FBI’s Tampa and Atlanta Field Offices.
In the seven months since Jan. 6, more than 570 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including over 170 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement. The investigation remains ongoing.
Anyone with tips can call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or visit tips.fbi.gov.
The charges contained in any criminal complaint or indictment are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.