Far-right group members tracked down by Sky News indicted over US Capitol attack

Two members of a far-right group tracked down by Sky News after an attack on the US Capitol have been indicted.

Jessica Marie Watkins, 38, and Donovan Ray Crowl, 50, were indicted along with Thomas Caldwell, 65, after allegedly conspiring to obstruct Congress.

If they are found guilty they could be jailed for up to 20 years.

They also face charges of destruction of government property and unlawful entry on restricted building or grounds.

The three are members of the Oath Keepers militia, which was involved in the Capitol riots in Washington DC earlier this month as they tried to stop the certification of President Joe Biden’s electoral victory.

The Justice Department said the trio had conspired as far back as November and the FBI had collected messages received during the 6 January riots.

In one, Watkins could be heard saying: “We have a good group.

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“We have about 30-40 of us.

Three Individuals Affiliated With the Oath Keepers Indicted in Federal Court for Conspiracy to Obstruct Congress on Jan. 6, 2021https://t.co/14RkectKf8pic.twitter.com/mJYnG6Mexc

— Justice Department (@TheJusticeDept) January 27, 2021

“We are sticking together and sticking to the plan.”

In another message that Caldwell received during the attack, an unidentified person told him: “All members are in the tunnels under capital seal them in. Turn on gas.”

Caldwell posted messages on Facebook during the riots saying: “We are surging forward. Doors breached” and later: “Inside”.

Watkins posted photos of herself and with Crowl on social media and captioned a photo with: “Me before forcing entry into the Capitol Building. #stopthesteal2 #stormthecapitol #oathkeepers #ohiomilitia.”

She later posted a video of herself inside the Capitol captioned: “Yeah. We stormed the Capitol today. Teargassed, the whole, 9. Pushed our way into the Rotunda. Made it into the Senate even. The news is lying (even Fox) about the Historical Events we created today.”

Jessica Watkins and Donovan Crowl
Image:Jessica Watkins and Donovan Crowl have been indicted

Watkins and Crowl are from Champaign County in Ohio, while Caldwell is from Clarke County in Virginia.

Sky News tracked down former soldier Watkins and Crowl, an ex-Marine, earlier this month.

Neither of them agreed to talk, although both had previously confirmed their membership of the Oath Keepers to other media outlets.

The Oath Keepers describe themselves as a nonpartisan association defending the constitution but the Southern Poverty Law Centre, a nonprofit legal advocacy group, identifies them as one of the largest radical anti-government groups in the US today.

The Justice Department says the group is a “paramilitary organisation focused on recruitment of current and former military, law enforcement, and first responder personnel”.

On Wednesday, US prosecutors said more than 400 suspects had been identified as having taken part in the Capitol attack and more than 150 have been charged so far.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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