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Three Percenters militia members charged in U.S. Capitol attack

WorldJun 10, 2021 07:50PM ET
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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Police release tear gas into a crowd of pro-Trump protesters during clashes at a rally to contest the certification of the 2020 U.S. presidential election results by the U.S. Congress, at the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, U.S, January 6

By Jan Wolfe and Mark Hosenball

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. prosecutors have obtained a conspiracy indictment against six California men associated with the Three Percenters right-wing militia, the latest in a series of such charges arising from the Jan. 6 riot by former President Donald Trump's supporters.

The indictment against the men was returned by a grand jury in the District of Columbia on Wednesday and made public on Thursday. They face charges including conspiring to obstruct an official proceeding, which carries a 20-year maximum sentence,

The Justice Department said in a news release that four of the six men "identify as members of Three Percenter militias," but that all of them chatted on the app Telegram to coordinate their actions on Jan. 6.

Two of the six men, Alan Hostetter and Russell Taylor, were seen a day before the riot with Roger Stone, a friend and adviser to Trump, during a protest outside the U.S. Supreme Court against the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.

About 30 people - including members of two other right-wing groups, The Oath Keepers and The Proud Boys - have been accused of conspiracy, the most serious charges related to the riot. Those pending cases are the largest and most complex of the roughly 500 brought by the Justice Department since the attack.

The other men charged in the indictment were Erik Scott Warner, Felipe Antonio "Tony" Martinez, Derek Kinnison and Ronald Mele.

Hostetter did not immediately respond to requests for comment and the names of defense counsel for the other five men were not immediately available.

Founded in 2008, the Three Percenters is a loosely organized anti-government group that takes its name from the idea that only 3% of American colonists took up arms against the British in the 18th century American Revolution.

According to the indictment, Hostetter founded a group in 2020 called the American Phoenix Project that protested restrictions on public gatherings imposed as a public health measure during the COVID-19 pandemic. That group became a platform to advocate violence against government leaders, according to the indictment.

'BEARS SPRAY, KNIVES'

Beginning in December 2020, the six men hatched a plan using the encrypted messaging app Telegram to bring weapons to Washington and storm the Capitol, according to the indictment. Prosecutors said the men selected Jan. 6 because of a Dec. 19 Trump Twitter post stating: "Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!"

Prosecutors said that on Dec. 29, Taylor told his accused co-conspirators on Telegram: "I personally want to be on the front steps and be one of the first ones to breach the doors!"

The pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol, interrupted the formal congressional certification of Democrat Joe Biden's election victory, clashed with an overwhelmed police force, and invaded the House of Representatives and Senate chambers. The violence left five dead, including a police officer.

Trump granted a pardon to Stone in December, wiping away his conviction arising from a federal investigation that documented Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election. Stone did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Four of the six men charged in the indictment — Warner, Martinez, Kinnison and Mele — traveled to Washington in a rented SUV, according to the court document.

Kinnison said in the Telegram group that they were driving rather than flying because they were bringing equipment including "multiple cans of bear spray" and "knives."

Three Percenters militia members charged in U.S. Capitol attack
 

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Comments (8)
Catholic Man
CatholicMan Jun 16, 2021 5:42PM ET
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I support the 3%er’s 100%.
Chuck Meaffer
Chuck Meaffer Jun 10, 2021 9:56PM ET
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So they pre planned it and had nothing to do with Trump's speech? So FB and Twitter will allow him back on?
Todd Gray
Todd Gray Jun 10, 2021 5:56PM ET
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The country's become like a 1920's traveling carnival sideshow. Except, the oddities & freaks are the sane, the just, and the rational.
Scot House
Scot House Jun 10, 2021 5:53PM ET
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Who cares. Too bad they couldnt get to the real criminals in congress. Would have been fun.
Darren Ikin
Darren Ikin Jun 10, 2021 5:53PM ET
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this is why u should stay in school kids
Ad Cline
Ad Cline Jun 10, 2021 5:36PM ET
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Jabit bulie.,Ivan Escobedo, so your support for insurrection, sedition, and President Trump's disregard and betrayal of America's Constitution. The leader of the Proud Boys, far right militia, is trying to use watching to much Fox news as a defense. that must be your problem too: or in your case The news on The propaganda news network, Russia Today.
Catholic Man
CatholicMan Jun 10, 2021 5:36PM ET
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Did uou know you can reply directly to comments?
Chris Cummins
Chris Cummins Jun 10, 2021 5:29PM ET
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There was no attack on Jan 6th! It was just a movie with a bunch of actors (and some dead people). Wait no, it was a major attack and Trump saved Congress by going in like Rambo and ***all the bad guys...but your MSM won't report that truth!!!!
Ad Cline
Ad Cline Jun 10, 2021 5:29PM ET
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I hope you're kidding.
Chris Cummins
Chris Cummins Jun 10, 2021 5:29PM ET
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Ad Cline  Haven't you seen the Rambo Trump posters? They were made when he entered the Capitol to ********the bad guys. But some of them were good too. Sometimes good people with small brains do odd things, just let Trump sort that our for you.
Ivan Escobedo
Ivan Escobedo Jun 10, 2021 5:12PM ET
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lol what a load of bs using them as a scape goat and this is coming from a democrat
Benjamin McIntire
Benjamin McIntire Jun 10, 2021 5:12PM ET
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Sureeee
Jabie Bulie
Jabie Bulie Jun 10, 2021 4:40PM ET
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This article is a total lie !!!!
Matt Terry
Matt Terry Jun 10, 2021 4:40PM ET
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Go back to Magastein
 
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