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

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A top government witness in the inflammatory conspiracy process of Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes testified: that he believed the January 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol could start another American revolution, possibly led by the extremist group.

“I felt like it was a ‘Bastille-esque’ moment in history, like in the French Revolution,” said Florida Oath Keepers member Graydon Young.

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

Monday’s testimony of Young, 57, of the Tampa area, is critical to the prosecution. He is one of three expected witnesses to plead guilty to at least one of three overlapping conspiracies indicting Rhodes and others. The Oath Keepers co-defendants are accused of wearing military equipment in a “stack” formation outside the Capitol and of deploying firearms just outside Washington.

Prosecutors must show that, although Rhodes did not enter the building that day, he and his co-defendants conspired to forcibly oppose the lawful transition of presidential power, in order to hinder Congress as it met to announce the 2020 election results. confirm, or to hinder lawmakers.

What you need to know about the Oath Keepers process

Young said he believed there was an implied understanding between Oath Keepers participating in encrypted communications with Rhodes that he had called for violent resistance against President Biden from taking office, although Young said there was no specific order to open the Capitol on 6 or 6. to enter January. express consent to commit a crime.

“There was no specific plan you were aware of to break through the Capitol doors, is that correct?” Rhodes’ lawyer, James Lee Bright, asked during the cross-examination.

“Yes,” replied Young.

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

“I felt like it was common sense,” he said. “When we got there on the 6th, we were talking about doing something about election fraud, and when crowds of people over the barricades entered the building, the opportunity to do something arose.”

Young, a retired civilian software project manager and information systems technician for the Marine Reserves, told the jurors how after the 2020 election he became bored with his and his wife’s rental housing and childcare businesses and spent “two to six” hours a day tracking of President Donald Trump’s false claims of mass voter fraud.

Young said he believed further protests would be “ineffective”, knew the Jan. 6 joint session of Congress was the “final step” before Biden’s inauguration two weeks later, and joined the Oath Keepers because ” I felt something had to change or be done.”

“I was really emotionally involved with what was going on. It began to cloud my judgment and shift my priorities” away from his family, Young said.

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

In the stands, Young said he remembered Trump’s attorney Sidney Powell saying voting machines had been tampered with and that the US government was complicit; he believed it was time to stand up to a corrupt government “forcing us to accept an invalid election and whatever.”

Young testified that in December 2020, Meggs told other Florida members in coded chats that Oath Keepers were poised to become the potential leaders of “millions” once the backlash began. When Young became concerned that the opposing federal authority was a “silly message,” and he and others doubted they could hold back the election certification, Rhodes unexpectedly joined the chat to “motivate” them — “as the CEO did.” that appears in your chat. ”

“It’s not a silly message,” Rhodes said in a Christmas Day thread, just after another contestant claimed, “We’re going to be in charge of 1776.2.”

Congress had to be scared and convinced “it will be time for torches and pitchforks i[f] they’re not doing the right thing,” Rhodes said, adding that if Trump didn’t act by calling on the military and private militias to stay in power, the Oath Keepers would.

Young said he took that as an implied understanding that Oath Keeper patriots would oppose an “enemy” made up of Congress, Biden, and heads of federal agencies: “I wasn’t quite sure how we [Oath Keepers] act or when… – or the general population would stop to resist the fraud, and then we would step in and help them, or we would get them to do something – but I thought it meant that after Biden was confirmed there was then a reaction and resistance.”

Young said he didn’t bring a gun to Washington because he was traveling by plane, and Meggs said he would bring one for him. However, Young said he and his sister, a former North Carolina police officer, brought a pair of handguns to the DC area with them.

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

Ex-Oath Keeper Paints a Dark Worldview Behind the Attack on the US Capitol

Once there, Young said he had placed his hand on the shoulder of co-defendant Kenneth Harrelson, another Florida Oath Keepers member and co-defendant. Young said the couple spent about 30 minutes in the Capitol after pushing his way into the building and joining a crowd trying to push past the police defending the Senate Chamber before being repelled by chemical irritants.

Young pleaded guilty to conspiracy and obstruction of Congressional proceedings in June 2021. He testified after prosecutors offered to drop four other counts and reduce a recommended jail term from 63 to 78 months in a deal for his “substantial cooperation.”

Young’s testimony, who comes into the fifth week of the trial and after proceedings were adjourned last week because Rhodes tested positive for the coronavirus, could be central to whether prosecutors can justify the actions of Rhodes and his co-defendants. distinct from those of nearly 300 accused of trying or conspiring to obstruct Congress but not using force to oppose the government.

Two weeks ago, a second aide, Jason Dolan, 46, of Wellington, Florida, testified that members of the group were willing to keep Congress from confirming the 2020 election result “by any means necessary,” including armed combat, and struggled with with possibly a “treacherous” death.

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

But Dolan also testified that he knew of no order or “specific mission” to enter the building, taking it as a “commanding intent” or general purpose to keep Trump in office.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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