Unindicted members of Ohio-based group committed criminal acts falsely blamed on the Oath Keepers, defense counsel alleges
Members of an Ohio-based Christian group called the Salt and Light Brigade were among the “suspicious actors” who breached the police lines on the east side of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and engaged in a “stunning conspiracy” to commit illegal acts that were falsely ascribed to the Oath Keepers, a defense attorney contends.
Attorney Brad Geyer, who represents Oath Keepers member Kenneth Harrelson in his January 6 seditious-conspiracy criminal case, filed a motion (pdf) identifying dozens of people allegedly associated with the Salt and Light Brigade as among those who pushed past police on the east side and moved up to the Columbus Doors entrance to the Capitol Rotunda.
Geyer said Salt and Light Brigade members engaged in a “stunning conspiracy” to attack the Capitol, but have faced no charges. Several members and associates of the group claim to have worked in intelligence jobs, including a former Green Beret with experience in “special operations, covert operations, psychological operations, undercover operations, [and] surveillance operations.” Others have claimed they have high-level government security clearances, he said.
In his filing, Geyer also alleged the Department of Justice has hamstrung defense attorneys by not providing evidence requested by the defense and failing to provide exculpatory information such as the FBI’s possible use of confidential human sources—informants—inside the Oath Keepers.
Geyer asked U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta for a six-month delay in the Oath Keepers trial. Mehta denied the motion. The judge also denied a motion to compel prosecutors to turn over exculpatory evidence Geyer said he and other attorneys requested but have not received.
Geyer’s petition for a delay came before Oath Keepers founder Elmer Stewart Rhodes III fired his defense attorneys and asked Judge Mehta to delay the Sept. 26 start of the trial by at least 90 days. Mehta ruled on Sept. 7 that Rhodes could not fire his attorneys and he denied an emergency motion to delay the trial.