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Man linked to Oath Keepers admits joining U.S. Capitol attack

WorldJul 20, 2021 05:20PM ET
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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Members of the Oath Keepers militia group, including Jessica Marie Watkins (Far Left) who has since been indicted by federal authorities for her role in the siege on the Capitol, stand among supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump occupying

By Mark Hosenball

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -A fourth person linked to the Oath Keepers militia group pleaded guilty on Tuesday to two criminal charges related to his participation in the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol by Donald Trump supporters.

Caleb Berry, 20, who prosecutors said was in communication with a Florida-based Oath Keepers group, is the fourth person affiliated with the militia to plead guilty to riot charges and the 19th to plead guilty to federal riot-related charges.

More than 535 people have been charged with taking part in the violence, when Trump supporters stormed the Capitol in an attempt to stop Congress from certifying Democratic President Joe Biden's election victory.

Trump falsely claims he lost the election because of widespread electoral fraud.

Berry pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy and obstructing an official proceeding at a hearing in federal court in Washington.

Prosecutors said in court papers that Berry was cooperating with investigators. Other defendants linked to the Oath Keepers who entered guilty pleas to riot-related charges also are cooperating with investigators, records showed.

On Jan. 6, prosecutors said, Berry and others donned protective vests, helmets and goggles, as well as clothing and patches with the Oath Keepers logo.

At the Capitol, Berry joined other suspected members of the militia who "maneuvered in an organized fashion" up the steps on the building's east side, with "each member keeping at least one hand on the shoulder of the other in front of them," prosecutors said.

They assaulted police guarding the building, "threw objects and sprayed chemicals towards the officers" and ultimately forced themselves into the building, said prosecutors.

Also on Tuesday, federal Magistrate G. Michael Harvey ordered pre-trial detention for accused rioter Robert Morss, a former U.S. Army Ranger from Pennsylvania. Harvey said Morss helped to organize a "shield wall" that rioters used to move against Capitol guards assembled from equipment taken from police.

Federal authorities also made public riot-related charges against Mark Sami Ibrahim, a probationary agent with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, who weeks before the riot told the DEA of his intention to resign.

Man linked to Oath Keepers admits joining U.S. Capitol attack
 

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