The indictment marks the archetypal charges lodged against conspirators linked to the extremist weapon rights radical oregon progressive with readying immoderate of the governmental events held the week of the attack.
June 10, 2021Updated 7:29 p.m. ET
Federal prosecutors filed a wide-ranging conspiracy indictment connected Thursday accusing six California men said to beryllium connected to a extremist weapon rights question called the Three Percenters with plotting to battle the Capitol connected Jan. 6, successful the archetypal charges lodged against anyone progressive with readying immoderate of the governmental events held the week of the attack.
The 20-page indictment was besides the archetypal to beryllium brought against a radical of alleged Three Percenters, a loosely organized question that takes its sanction from the expected 3 percent of the U.S. assemblage colonisation that fought against the British. The caller charges, filed successful Federal District Court successful Washington, came connected the aforesaid time that Christopher A. Wray, the F.B.I. director, testified successful beforehand of a House committee that prosecutors were pursuing further conspiracy charges against immoderate of the rioters who stormed the Capitol.
Investigators person said for months that respective extremist groups were progressive successful the attack, but portion the Three Percenters person been occasionally mentioned successful tribunal filings, astir accused extremists person travel from 2 different groups: the Oath Keepers militia and the far-right nationalist radical the Proud Boys. The caller charges could suggest that prosecutors person started to wage attraction not lone to those who straight took portion successful the Capitol attack, but besides to those who helped foment the assault.
The 2 apical defendants successful the indictment — Alan Hostetter, 56, a erstwhile constabulary main turned yoga instructor; and Russell Taylor, 40, a affluent graphic decorator with a sensation for reddish Corvettes — were already nether scrutiny by the authorities aft the F.B.I. raided their homes successful January. Mr. Hostetter and Mr. Taylor were leaders of a radical called the American Phoenix Project, which was founded to combat the “fear-based tyranny” of coronavirus-related restrictions. The radical aboriginal embraced erstwhile President Donald J. Trump’s lies astir a stolen election, and helped signifier a well-attended rally extracurricular the Supreme Court connected Jan. 5, wherever the speakers included Roger J. Stone Jr., a erstwhile advisor to Mr. Trump.
Mr. Hostetter’s wife, Kristine, a schoolteacher, besides attracted nationalist attraction this twelvemonth aft she attended “Stop the Steal” rallies successful Washington, mounting disconnected a furor successful their hometown, San Clemente, Calif., that prompted an probe by the schoolhouse committee into whether she had attacked the Capitol. She was cleared by the territory successful March.
Yet contempt the attraction from instrumentality enforcement, the quality media and neighbors successful Orange County, neither Mr. Hostetter nor Mr. Taylor had been publically linked to the Three Percenters earlier they were charged connected Thursday.
Starting soon aft the election, the indictment said, Mr. Hostetter utilized the American Phoenix Project “to advocator unit against definite groups and individuals that supported the 2020 predetermination results.” At the extremity of November, for example, helium posted a video connected the group’s YouTube transmission successful which helium accused those who had not challenged the results of committing treason. “Some radical astatine the highest level,” helium said, “need to beryllium made an illustration of with an execution oregon three.”
The pursuing month, astatine a rally successful Huntington Beach, Calif., Mr. Hostetter gave a code repeating his decease threats against those who doubted Mr. Trump had won. “Execution is the conscionable punishment of the ringleaders of this coup,” the indictment quotes him arsenic saying.
To program their relation successful the Capitol attack, prosecutors accidental that Mr. Hostetter, Mr. Taylor and immoderate of their co-defendants — among them, Derek Kinnison, 39, Felipe Antonio Martinez, 47, and Erik Warner, 45 — utilized substance messages, Facebook and the chatting app Telegram. More than 30 people, the indictment notes, joined a Telegram radical chat called “California Patriots-DC Brigade,” a transmission that Mr. Taylor described arsenic being for “able bodied individuals that are going to DC connected Jan. 6” and are “ready and consenting to fight.”
On Jan. 1, prosecutors say, Mr. Taylor sent retired a connection connected the radical chat asking its members to uncover whether they had immoderate subject oregon law-enforcement training. “I americium assuming,” helium wrote, “that you person immoderate benignant of weaponry that you are bringing with you.”
That aforesaid day, successful his introductory station to the radical chat, Mr. Kinnison wrote that he, Mr. Martinez and Mr. Warner were portion of “so cal 3%,” according to the indictment. Prosecutors accidental Mr. Kinnison attached a photograph to the Telegram connection of the 3 men flashing a Three Percenter manus signal.
The transportation of Mr. Hostetter and Mr. Taylor to the Three Percenters seemed somewhat much tenuous. On Jan. 3, the indictment says, Mr. Hostetter posted a connection connected the American Phoenix Project’s Instagram relationship utilizing connection associated with the movement. “Only 3% of Americans really fought successful our War of Revolution,” helium wrote. “There volition apt beryllium 3% of america again that volition afloat perpetrate to this battle.”
Mr. Taylor’s lawyer, Dyke Huish, said helium had nary cognition of immoderate engagement by his lawsuit with the Three Percenters. “That is thing I person ne'er heard of,” helium added, “even remotely.”
Mr. Hostetter and Mr. Taylor emerged past twelvemonth arsenic rising star’s successful Southern California’s resurgent acold fight. Both look to person been radicalized astatine the onset of the pandemic, and person helped pb a caller procreation of right-wing extremists to travel retired of the formation towns of Orange County, wherever Richard M. Nixon turned an oceanside villa into his statesmanlike getaway, and John Wayne kept his yacht, Wild Goose.
The country was a cradle of the modern American blimpish question and immoderate of its astir virulently racist, anti-Semitic and paranoid offshoots, specified arsenic the John Birch Society successful the 1960s and neo-Nazi and skinhead groups who flocked to its surf spots 2 decades later.
Until past year, Mr. Hostetter seemed precise distant from that history. A erstwhile worker and constabulary chief, helium landed successful San Clemente astir a decennary agone and embarked connected a 3rd vocation arsenic a yoga guru who specialized successful “sound healing” with gongs, Tibetan bowls and Aboriginal didgeridoos. He was conservative, according to radical who cognize him, but nary much truthful than galore others successful and astir San Clemente.
Then came the pandemic. He discontinue yoga, declared himself a “patriotic warrior” and founded the American Phoenix Project. The radical began organizing protests, and soon attracted Mr. Taylor. Their database of enemies rapidly grew to see Black Lives Matter protesters, and Mr. Hostetter astatine times appeared to clasp QAnon, the conspiratorial question that falsely claims Mr. Trump was secretly battling devil-worshiping Democrats and planetary financiers who maltreatment children.
Prosecutors accidental Mr. Kinnison and his Three Percenter partners were unfastened astir their affiliation with the question and seemingly made plans to bring firearms to Washington connected Jan. 6. On Jan. 2, Mr. Kinnison sent a substance connection to Mr. Warner, Mr. Martinez and different co-defendant, Ronald Mele, 51, containing a photograph that showed him wearing a bandoleer of shotgun ammunition, according to the indictment.
After Mr. Taylor spoke astatine the Supreme Court rally connected Jan. 5 — “I americium Russell Taylor and I americium a escaped American” — prosecutors accidental helium posted a video connected an encrypted chatting app that showed an array of cogwheel connected a bed: a bulletproof vest, 2 hatchets, a walkie-talkie, a stun baton and a knife. The caption read, “Now getting acceptable for tomorrow.”
Decked retired successful this equipment, the indictment says, Mr. Taylor marched from Mr. Trump’s code connected Jan. 6 to the Capitol with Mr. Hostetter and idiosyncratic identified lone arsenic Person One. Mr. Kinnison and his radical of Three Percenters, prosecutors say, approached the gathering separately and, astatine slightest 1 of them — Mr. Warner — entered done a breached window.
Prosecutors bash not impeach Mr. Hostetter oregon Mr. Taylor of breaking into the Capitol, though they bash allege that some men joined a mob of rioters astatine the building’s little westbound terrace who pushed done a enactment of instrumentality enforcement officers.
“I was pushing done traitors each time today,” Mr. Taylor wrote connected a Telegram chat astatine 6:18 that evening, prosecutors say. “WE STORMED THE CAPITOL! Freedom was afloat demonstrated today!”