Oath Keeper Graydon Young said Jan. 6 attack was like ‘Bastille-type’ moment

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A star government witness in the sedition conspiracy trial of Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes testified. that he believes January 6, 2021, the attack on the Capitol could start a new American revolution potentially led by extremist groups.

“I feel like it’s a ‘Bastille-type’ moment in history, like in the French Revolution,” Florida Oath Keepers member Graydon Young testified.

“I think I am acting like a traitor, someone who is against my own government,” he said in the trial of Rhodes and four others in federal court in Washington.

The testimony on Monday of Young, 57, Tampa area, is critical of the lawsuit. He was one of three expected witnesses who pleaded guilty to at least one of the three overlapping conspiracies in which Rhodes and others were charged. The Oath Keepers co-defendants are accused of being in military style in a “stack” formation outside the Capitol and using firearms outside Washington.

Prosecutors must show that even if Rhodes did not enter the building that day, he and his co-defendants conspired to fight by forcing the legal transition of presidential power, to obstruct Congress during its meeting to guarantee the results of the 2020 election, or to obstruct members of parliament.

What you need to know about the Oath Keepers trial

Young said he believed there was an implicit understanding among the Oath Keepers who participated in the encrypted communications with Rhodes that he had called to oppose the violence of President Biden from taking office, although Young said there was no specific order to enter the Capitol on January 6 or an explicit agreement to commit a crime.

“There is no specific plan that you know of to breach the Capitol doors, is that correct?” Rhodes’ attorney James Lee Bright asked during cross-examination.

“Yes,” answered Young.

But Young told prosecutor Jeffrey S. Nestler, “I participated in a conspiracy to obstruct Congress. … We were going to disrupt Congress, wherever they met.”

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“I feel like it’s common-sense,” he said. “We talked about doing something about the fraud in the election when we got to the 6th, and when the crowd went through the barricade into the building, that was the opportunity to do something.”

Young, a retired civilian software project manager and Navy information systems technician, told jurors how after the 2020 election he was bored with his wife’s rental property and childcare business and spent “two to six” hours a day following President Donald. Trump’s false claims of massive voter fraud.

Young said he believes further protests will be “ineffective,” knowing that the Jan. 6 joint session of Congress is the “last step” before Biden’s inauguration two weeks later, and joining Oath Keepers because “I feel something needs to change or be done. .”

“I’m really emotionally invested in what’s going on. It’s starting to influence my decisions and change my priorities” away from his family, Young said.

Young signed up to be a bodyguard for Trump’s political confidant Roger Stone in Florida, where he met a paramilitary trainer. Young, who owned 10 firearms including two AR-15 military-style rifles, said he explored firearms training using simulated rounds for his security team, and reported to Rhodes and co-defendant Florida Oath Keepers January 6 leader Kelly Meggs, who are both. directed the actions of the Oath Keepers in Washington that day, Young testified.

On the stand, Young said he remembered Trump’s attorney Sidney Powell saying the voting machines had been tampered with by the US government. this is being complicit; he believes it’s time to fight against a corrupt government “forcing us to accept illegitimate elections and whatever.”

Young testified that Meggs told another Florida member in an encrypted chat in December 2020 that the Oath Keepers were ready to become potential leaders of “millions” when the resistance began. When Young complained that opposing federal authorities was a “fool’s errand,” and that he and the others doubted that they could stop the election certification, Rhodes unexpectedly joined the conversation to “motivate” them – “just like the CEO who appeared in your chat .”

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“It’s not a fool’s errand,” Rhodes said in the Christmas thread, after another participant admitted, “We’ll lead 1776.2.”

Congress needs to fear and believe “it will be torches and pitchforks this time i[f] they’re not doing the right thing,” Rhodes said, adding that if Trump doesn’t act by calling in the military and private militias to stay in power, the Oath Keepers will.

Young said that he took it as an implicit understanding that the Oath Keeper patriots would oppose the “enemy” made up of Congress, Biden and the heads of federal agencies: “I don’t know exactly how we are. [Oath Keepers] will do or when … – will the general public stop to resist fraud, then we will step in and help them, or we will make them do something – but maybe that means after Biden is confirmed there will be a reaction and resistance”.

Young said he did not bring a gun to Washington because he was traveling by air, and Meggs said he would bring one for him. But Young said he and his sister, a former police officer in North Carolina, brought several guns with them to the DC area.

In Washington that day, Meggs made a decision for a group of Oath Keepers to go to the Capitol to rendezvous with Rhodes after hearing the police barricades had been breached and was in communication with Rhodes, Young testified.

Ex-Oath Keeper outlines the dark worldview behind the US Capitol attack

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Once there, Young said he put his hand on the shoulder of co-defendant Kenneth Harrelson, another Florida Oath Keepers member and co-defendant. Young said the pair spent about 30 minutes in the Capitol after he “pushed” his way into the building and joined a crowd that tried to push through police who were guarding the Senate chamber before being chased away with chemical irritants.

Young pleaded guilty in June 2021 to conspiracy and obstructing the official proceedings of Congress. He testified after prosecutors offered to dismiss four other counts and cut back the 63- to 78-month prison sentence recommended in a plea deal for “substantial cooperation.”

Young’s testimony, coming in the fifth week of the trial and after proceedings were interrupted last week by Rhodes testing positive for the coronavirus, could be central to why prosecutors can distinguish the actions of Rhodes and his co-defendants from the nearly 300 accused. of attempting or conspiring to obstruct Congress, but not using force against the government.

Two weeks ago, a second operative, Jason Dolan, 46, from Wellington, Fla., testified that members of the group were ready to stop Congress from confirming the results of the 2020 election “by any means necessary,” including armed combat, and it was grappling. with the potential of dying a “treasonous” death.

It “will be a treacherous fight against what I see as an illegitimate form of government,” Dolan explained. Like Young, Dolan testified that Rhodes has declared that the Oath Keepers will act even if Trump does not: “We will act to stop the certification of the election … by any means necessary. That’s why we bring our firearms.”

But Dolan also testified that he knew there was no order or “specific mission” to enter the building and took it as “commander’s intent” or a general goal to keep Trump in office.

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