Prosecutors reveal new details of alleged Jan. 6 plotting by Oath Keepers
The details come in a new court filing aimed at keeping a suspect behind bars.
In an effort to keep a newly-arrested member of the Oath Keepers militia group charged in last week's seditious conspiracy indictment behind bars -- the Justice Department in a new court filing Wednesday revealed even more details behind the group's alleged plotting in advance of the Jan. 6 insurrection.
Prosecutors argue in the filing that Edward Vallejo, who will appear in federal court in Phoenix for his detention hearing Thursday, would present both a threat to the safety of the general public and a risk of obstruction of justice if released pending further legal proceedings in his case.
Vallejo is not alleged to have joined the Oath Keepers at the Capitol on Jan. 6 -- he instead is accused of waiting with a so-called 'Quick Reaction Force' of heavily armed individuals at a hotel in Virginia just outside the city, waiting to be activated once the militia's members in D.C. called for help.
He was arrested last week along with the Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes on charges of seditious conspiracy among other federal felony charges, in the most serious indictment brought by the Justice Department thus far out of the Capitol attack.
The day after the riot, prosecutors say Vallejo performed a "Recon" mission in an area near the Capitol to "probe [the] defense line" being put up by law enforcement who were trying to prevent the building from being attacked again.
In an initial court appearance last week, a public defender representing Vallejo said he intends to plead not guilty to all charges against him, he has still not been arraigned on the four felony charges against him.
The filing Wednesday by the U.S. Attorney for D.C. includes new photos showing Vallejo carting what prosecutors say are weapons, ammunition and essential supplies to last 30 days into the QRF hotel in Virginia.
Vallejo, according to prosecutors, allegedly brought a drone "with a 720p cam" that he sought to use as part of his "recon" mission but failed to launch it as the riot was ongoing.
Investigators say there were "at least" three regional QRF teams stationed at the Comfort Inn hotel in Arlington, the filing says. One team from North Carolina, "consisted of four men who kept their rifles ready to go in a vehicle parked in the hotel lot."
On a podcast the morning of the riot, when asked by another QRF member why they were there, Vallejo allegedly answered they "have a little bit of inside information with the powers that would oppose the powers that be."
This appears to be in reference to the alleged belief among the Oath Keepers that Trump would invoke the Insurrection Act on Jan. 6 to mobilize the military to overturn the election.
According to the filing, while law enforcement was still trying to secure the Capitol, one member of the Oath Keepers allegedly texted their Signal chat, "so why are we leaving??? It does NO good to go show up and say your there to defend and then just leave."
Vallejo then responded, "Leaving?!? I ain’t goin nowhere" and later added, “we will monitor all night and transport anyone that meets us on the perimeter curfew be damned," the filing said.
On the morning after the riot, Vallejo again appeared on a podcast where he allegedly discussed their recon mission to case the perimeter being set up by law enforcement after the insurrection, prosecutors said.
Vallejo explained that he and others "got up before dawn, and we went to the Capitol … we did what we needed to do, did our check in, and then we got back here to take care of business," the filing said.
When asked on the podcast if he was returning to Arizona, prosecutors say Vallejo "remained ready to act" explaining, “I don’t know. We’ve got to figure out what happens on the 20th.” Ultimately, Vallejo noted, “I’m never done … I’m waiting for orders from Stewart Rhodes," according to prosecutors.
They argue Vallejo continues to remain a danger to the public, in part citing his tweets they argue attempt to "sanitize the Capitol attack" as well as his anti-vaccine comments on social media.
"... as recently as January 8, 2022, Vallejo continued to sanitize the Capitol attack and specifically focus on the 2020 Presidential Election, retweeting, “The real insurrection happened in the wee hours of Nov. 4, 2020,” prosecutors said.
"There is no evidence that he has renounced violence or that he no longer believes in the necessity of guerilla warfare after January 6," the government said. "That is what makes him a danger today."
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