Oath Keepers FBI Interviews Contradict Indictment Charges

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May 2021 interviews with Indiana leader say there was no plan to attack U.S. Capitol or interfere with transfer of power

An Indiana Oath Keepers leader who was in charge of security operations for the group in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021, was indicted by a federal grand jury on June 24 on five counts related to violence at the U.S. Capitol.

Michael Greene, 39, of Indianapolis, was arrested in Indiana on a warrant from Washington. An indictment unsealed June 24 charges Greene with conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of an official proceeding (aiding and abetting), conspiracy to prevent an officer from discharging any duties, entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds, and tampering with documents or proceedings (aiding and abetting).

Greene was added to a superseding indictment against seven other Oath Keepers, including Donovan Crowl, Sandra Parker, Bennie Parker, Laura Steele, Connie Meggs, William Isaacs, and James Beeks.

Greene, who also goes by the name Michael Simmons, is not accused of seditious conspiracy, a charge leveled in a different indictment against nine Oath Keepers, including the group’s founder, Elmer Stewart Rhodes III.

Rhodes and his eight co-defendants were named in the latest 13-count superseding indictment unsealed in Washington, also on June 24. The other defendants in the seditious conspiracy case include Kelly Meggs, Kenneth Harrelson, Jessica Watkins, Roberto Minuta, Joseph Hackett, David Moerschel, Thomas Caldwell, and Edward Vallejo.

The overarching cases against the Oath Keepers allege the group conspired to prevent the counting of Electoral College votes by a joint session of the U.S. Congress at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. The goal, according to federal prosecutors, was to keep then-President Donald J. Trump in office and prevent Joseph R. Biden Jr. from assuming the presidency.

All of the current 17 Oath Keepers defendants have pleaded not guilty to all charges. Defense attorneys say the indictments are a vast misreading and twisting of communications between group members who came to Washington to do nothing more than keep event participants safe from attacks by Antifa radicals.

“At 1:42 p.m. on January 6, Greene sent a text message to an acquaintance stating, ‘Storming the capital’ (sic) along with a photograph that depicted the advancing mob on the west side of the Capitol grounds,” the Department of Justice stated in a news release. “Greene communicated with Rhodes and others during the afternoon. At about 3:09 p.m., Greene texted an acquaintance, ‘Congress evacuated.’”

FBI Notes Contradict Indictments

Greene’s indictment surprised some case observers, coming nearly 13 months after he was interviewed by FBI agents regarding his participation with the Oath Keepers at events in various cities. As a key leader at the D.C. events on Jan. 6, his input cited in the FBI reports contradicts much of what is alleged against Rhodes and other Oath Keepers defendants.

By Joseph M. Hanneman

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