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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Tennessee

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, December 16, 2022

Two Tennessee Men Arrested For Planning Attacks On Law Enforcement Personnel And The FBI's Knoxville Field Office

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A criminal complaint was unsealed today charging Edward Kelley, 33, of Maryville, TN, and Austin Carter, 26, of Knoxville, TN, with conspiracy, retaliating against a federal official, interstate communication of a threat, and solicitation to commit a crime of violence. Kelley and Austin made their initial appearance in federal court in Knoxville, TN, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jill E. McCook. Both defendants have been detained. Carter has a detention hearing scheduled for December 21, 2022.

According to court documents, Kelley, who is facing charges in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia related to his assault on a law enforcement officer during the breach of the Capitol on January 6, 2021, obtained a list of law enforcement personnel who participated in that criminal investigation. In conversations with a cooperating witness, Kelley and Carter discussed plans to kill the individual law enforcement personnel on the list. Those plans included an attack on the FBI’s Knoxville, Tennessee Field Office.

“Federal law enforcement agents put their lives on the line every day to protect the public,” said United States Attorney Francis M. Hamilton III. “Planning and threatening violence against them is among the most serious of crimes. It is absolutely unacceptable and will be vigorously investigated and prosecuted,” said United States Attorney Francis M. Hamilton III.

“The FBI continually assesses the full spectrum of potential threats that come to our attention and that includes those whose intent is to harm bureau employees. The arrests were a result of an amazing team effort across the division along with our local, state, and federal partners. The partnership with the FBI Counterterrorism Division, the Department of Justice’s Counterterrorism Section, and the U.S. Attorney’s Offices in the Eastern District of Tennessee and the District of Columbia were instrumental in the success of the operation. We remind the public to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity regardless of the intended target,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Joseph E. Carrico.

The case is being investigated by the FBI. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Casey Arrowood and Kyle Wilson of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Tennessee, and Trial Attorneys David Smith and Jacob Warren from the Counterterrorism Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.

Members of the public are reminded that these are only charges and that every person is presumed innocent until their guilt has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

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Topic(s): 
National Security
Contact: 
Rachelle Barnes Public Affairs Officer (865) 545-4167
Updated December 16, 2022