Oath Keeper emotional as he accepts 2nd plea deal in Jan. 6 seditious conspiracy case

Brian Ulrich admitted to being part of the group that marched on the Capitol.

April 29, 2022, 3:30 PM

Federal prosecutors on Friday secured a second guilty plea and cooperation deal with a member of the Oath Keepers militia group charged in the government's seditious conspiracy case stemming from the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol.

Brian Ulrich, of Guyton, Georgia, admitted on Friday that he was part of the group of Oath Keepers that was seen during the riot ascending the east steps of the Capitol in a military-style "stack" formation.

The 44-year-old pleaded guilty to two felony charges of seditious conspiracy and obstruction of an official proceeding, both of which carry maximum sentences of 20 years in prison and fines up to $250,000. As outlined in his plea, Ulrich's estimated offense level carries a sentencing range between 63-78 months, though the government could recommend a lesser sentence based on the extent of his cooperation.

As part of his plea deal, Ulrich agreed to provide "substantial cooperation" to the government, including testifying before a grand jury and at trial, as well as sitting for additional interviews with the government if they request it.

As D.C. district judge Amit Mehta read off the terms of his plea, Ulrich became emotional, his voice cracking as Mehta described the potential time in prison he could face at sentencing.

Mehta at one point asked Ulrich if he wanted to take a break to compose himself.

"It's not going to get any easier," Ulrich responded.

PHOTO: Members of the Oath Keepers stand on the East Front of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington, D.C.
Members of the Oath Keepers stand on the East Front of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington, D.C.
Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP, FILE

He could be heard weeping over the teleconference line several times through the remainder of the hearing.

In a filing released Friday, Ulrich acknowledged using the Signal app to send private messages to other members of the Oath Keepers regarding their plans to prevent Joe Biden from becoming president in favor of then-President Donald Trump.

"I seriously wonder what it would take just to get every patriot marching around the capital armed?" Ulrich messaged on Dec. 5, 2020. "Just to show our government how powerless they are!"

Ulrich also admitted he traveled to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 4 with the knowledge that other members of the group had stored firearms at a hotel in Virginia, where prosecutors say a number of Oath Keepers were stationed on Jan. 6 as part of a heavily armed "Quick Reaction Force" in case the group wanted to transport weapons into the city.

Ahead of his trip, Ulrich said he purchased tactical gear and other equipment, including two-way radio receivers, which he carried with him inside the Capitol.

At the start of the assault on the Capitol, Ulrich said he and other Oath Keepers members were at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington. When they saw news reports of the mob breaching police lines, the group gathered their gear and raced to the Capitol on golf carts to join the attack.

In the days after Jan. 6, Ulrich continued to communicate with other Oath Keepers on Signal, saying in one message that he and Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes needed to "stay below the radar," according to prosecutors.

Ulrich's plea follows a similar agreement prosecutors reached last month with Joshua James, a member of the Oath Keepers' Alabama chapter who admitted to providing security for former Trump adviser Roger Stone on the day before the riot.

There are nine remaining Oath Keepers members facing seditious conspiracy charges, including Rhodes -- all of whom have pleaded not guilty and have vowed they will fight the charges at trial.

"Do you agree with that statement [in your plea agreement] that you agreed with Mr. Rhodes and others to oppose by force the lawful transfer of presidential power?" Mehta asked Ulrich Friday.

"Yes, your honor," Ulrich answered.

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