Key Updates From Week 2 Of The Oath Keepers' Seditious Conspiracy Trial

The Oath Keepers’ seditious conspiracy trial stretched into its second week as prosecutors sought to give jurors a better understanding of how the group was hyped up and planning for violence on Jan. 6, 2021.

Taking to the witness stand were a member of the far-right anti-government group and several FBI agents involved in the investigation, which is the most high-profile Capitol attack case to go to trial so far.

The Oath Keepers’ founder and leader, Elmer Stewart Rhodes, is facing up to 20 years behind bars alongside four others linked to the group for their alleged part in the Capitol attack. The Oath Keepers are accused of stockpiling a cache of weapons just outside the Washington, D.C., border for easy access in case then-President Donald Trump called on them to take up arms to keep him in power.

Read on for a few highlights from this week.

An Oath Keeper said he hadn’t seen so many guns in one place since his time in the military.

Terry Cummings, a military veteran who joined the Florida Oath Keepers, testified on Wednesday. He showed the courtroom the AR-15 rifle and ammunition box that he brought to contribute to the “quick reaction force” ― abbreviated QRF ― that the group staged in Virginia, where gun laws are not as strict as they are in the nation’s capital.

Prosecutors displayed images from hotel security cameras showing the Oath Keepers wheeling in cases of guns and equipment. One of the defendants in the trial, Thomas Caldwell, was part of the QRF contingent that stayed behind in case the weapons at the hotel were needed.

“I have not seen that many weapons in one location since I was in the military,” Cummings testified, per CNN. He added that he regarded the idea of showing up at the Capitol with weapons to be more of a “show of force” than an “offensive” maneuver. None of the Oath Keepers are charged with misuse of firearms in the trial, a point highlighted by defense attorneys, who have sought to portray the group as more of a security force that has been mischaracterized by the government.

The Oath Keepers were jazzed when Trump tweeted that Jan. 6, 2021, was going to be “wild.”

Prosecutors showed text messages defendant Kelly Meggs sent over the encrypted messaging app Signal once Trump tweeted for supporters to come to Washington to hear his Jan. 6 speech.

“Be there, will be wild!” Trump posted to Twitter, in the days before being kicked off the platform.

In one message to Jeremy Liggett, a Florida man who ran a Three Percenters offshoot group, Meggs wrote: “Trump said It’s gonna be wild !!!!!!! It’s gonna be wild !!!!!!! He wants us to make it WILD that’s what he’s saying. He called us all to the Capitol and wants us to make it wild !!!”

Meggs wrote in another post that the Oath Keepers flags would be “flying Jan. 6 in front of the Capitol,” the AP reported.

Prosecutors provided a link between the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys.

Meggs asserted that he had made contact with the Proud Boys, another far-right group, in another text with Liggett. He called the Proud Boys a “force multiplier” because they “always have a big group,” per The New York Times. A few days later, Meggs texted Liggett: “1776 ... We are gonna make history.”

Footage of Rhodes meeting with Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio and others in a parking garage on the evening of Jan. 6 was publicly released earlier this year.

The judge ruled that certain messages between Rhodes and his lawyer, Kellye SoRelle, can be shown at trial.

After some back-and-forth between prosecutors and attorneys for Rhodes, Judge Amit Mehta determined that some potentially incriminating messages sent to the Oath Keepers’ lawyer can be shown.

Prosecutors argued that the messages came from before the point in time when SoRelle began representing the Oath Keepers. One text message displayed before an objection was raised showed Rhodes complaining about Trump’s inaction to SoRelle.

“This will be DC rally number three. Getting kinda old. They don’t give a shit how many show up and wave a sign, pray, or yell. They won’t fear us till we come with rifles in hand,” Rhodes said on Dec. 29, 2020.

Other records shown at trial indicate Rhodes wanted Trump to invoke the Insurrection Act, believing it would give his group “legal cover” to invade the Capitol with guns.

Jurors were treated to some of the Oath Keepers’ homemade training videos.

Several videos showing the kinds of trainings the Oath Keepers ran were shown in court this week.

On Tuesday, jurors were shown some of the equipment that had been seized from defendant Jessica Watkins’ home earlier this year, including a bulletproof vest. Watkins’ attorney has argued that she went to the Capitol on Jan. 6 to help provide medical care to anyone who needed it. But text messages displayed in court show how Watkins encouraged Oath Keepers recruits to attend trainings and prepare for potential violence.

“So should I get comfortable with the idea of death?” one recruit said in a message shown Tuesday, per NBC News. Watkins replied, “That’s why I do what I do.” The recruit then said, “I hope the training will help me be ok with dying for country.”

Outside the trial, new information on what the U.S. Secret Service knew about the potential for far-right violence on Jan. 6 came to light.

Unbeknownst to jurors ― who are forbidden from reading any relevant media coverage ― the Oath Keepers earned several mentions during Thursday’s House select committee hearing on the Capitol attack.

Evidence presented in the hearing revealed how the U.S. Secret Service knew about the group’s plan to stage a “quick reaction force” of guns and ammunition just outside the District, to be ready in case they needed to show more force. They were also on hand to guard former Trump adviser Roger Stone.

A witness in the Oath Keepers trial, John Zimmerman, previously testified that he believed Rhodes had a contact in the Secret Service, because he heard Rhodes’ side of a phone call with an agent at a Trump rally in September 2020.

The agency said in a statement, however, that “it is not uncommon for various organizations to contact us concerning security restrictions and activities that are permissible in proximity to our protected sites.” The agency is aware that “individuals from the Oath Keepers have contacted us in the past to make inquiries” about sites protected by the Secret Service.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.