Kellye SoRelle, attorney for Oath Keepers, arrested on Jan. 6 Capitol Violation


An Oath Keepers attorney who was outside the United States Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 with the group’s founder, Stewart Rhodes, was arrested Thursday in Texas on charges of assaulting Congress, federal prosecutors said.

Kellye SoRelle, 43, was arrested in Junction, Texas, and will appear before a federal judge in Austin for the first time Thursday afternoon, according to the US law firm for Washington. In an indictment returned Wednesday, SoRelle was charged with four offenses — conspiracy, obstruction of federal proceeding, tampering with documents and trespassing on a prohibited building or site — prosecutors said.

A bare three-page indictment alleges that in December 2020 and January 2021, SoRelle “knowingly combined, colluded, confederate, and agreed to corruptly thwart, influence and corrupt other persons known and unknown to the Grand Jury.” to hinder.” to proceed, that is, the certification of the Electoral College by Congress.”

The indictment accuses SoRelle of helping and inciting others to do the same on Jan. 6, 2021, and of persuading others to withhold or destroy data.

In previous court files, federal prosecutors have designated SoRelle as a close adviser in key moments to Rhodes, one of about 20 alleged leaders or members of two right-wing extremist groups facing the historically rare charge of seditious conspiracy. The indictment accuses Oath Keepers and Proud Boys employees of conspiring to use force to oppose the authority of the federal government and to oppose the lawful transfer of power to President Biden in the attack on the United States Capitol.

SoRelle was not charged with seditious conspiracy but with a separate obstruction of an official procedural count the government filed against other members of those two groups and against nearly 300 defendants on Jan. 6.

A SoRelle lawyer was not immediately available for comment. SoRelle accompanied Rhodes to an interview with a Post reporter in Fort Worth last year and characterized what she personally experienced at the Capitol on Jan. 6 as largely peaceful with protesters being let into the building by police. SoRelle said she watched authorities open doors and protesters enter the Capitol from a planter she had climbed to get a view of the crowd. She also said that Rhodes and another oath-keeper pulled her away at one point when a wave of people pushed toward open doors.

“There were no officers to tell us that we were trespassing and that we had to leave,” she said.

US authorities have alleged that members of the Oath Keepers were coordinating travel, equipment and firearms and hiding weapons outside Washington, ready “to answer Rhodes’ call to take up arms toward Rhodes”.

In pleadings, the co-defendants of the Oath Keepers have admitted to joining a group that forced entry through the East Capitol Rotunda doors after lining up the stairs in a single line wearing camouflage vests, helmets, goggles and Oath Keepers insignia. .

Rhodes exchanged numerous phone calls with a deputy and alleged participants previously guarding Roger Stone, and more than a dozen members met with Rhodes and SoRelle after they left the Capitol just outside the building at about 4:00 p.m. that day, according to court records.

Rhodes and the other co-defendants have pleaded not guilty, and Rhodes said in a March 2021 interview with The Washington Post that there was no plan to breach the Capitol. He has said the group was ramping up firearms in Northern Virginia in case it was needed as a “rapid response force” if Trump were to invoke the Insurrection Act and mobilize armed militias to keep themselves in office.

SoRelle also emerged in court files as a point of contact between Rhodes and Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, a leader of the Proud Boys, on the eve of the Jan. 6 split. Tarrio has been charged with seditious conspiracy along with four lieutenants. Video released into Tarrio’s case by his lawyers and US prosecutors traced his movements in Washington, DC, including his meeting in an underground parking garage with Rhodes on January 5.

That evening, Tarrio shook hands and spoke to Rhodes and SoRelle in the Hall of the States Building garage near Capitol Hill. Also in attendance were leaders of two right-wing pro-Trump groups: Joshua Macias, a scheduled speaker the next day, and Bianca Gracia, a January 6 event organizer with ties to the White House. When Tarrio introduced herself to Rhodes and SoRelle on camera, the camera crew was told to leave and did not record audio of substantive discussions in publicly released clips.

At a hearing in May, Tarrio attorney Nayib Hassan said Tarrio met Rhodes by chance while looking for a lawyer to represent him after his arrest by DC police for a separate incident – the burning of a Black Lives Matter banner. who was stolen from a church in DC in December 2020 after another pro-Trump demonstration — to which he later pleaded guilty and was serving a four-month prison sentence.

“I just need to talk to her. This man has a good lawyer, and it was a 2A [Second Amendment] lawyer who released this man,” Tarrio says for the camera as he enters the garage, without digressing.

Separately, SoRelle has emerged as Rhodes’ point of contact with other supporters of Donald Trump seeking to undo the results of the 2020 presidential election. Another Oath Keepers defendant made public this spring the transcript of a November 9, 2020 video conference call in which Rhodes debriefs SoRelle members about “multiple pods working” to challenge Biden’s election victory. SoRelle said those in the pods include the Trump campaign, the Republican National Committee, QAnon supporters and Rudy Giuliani’s legal team.

Just two days ago, SoRelle, an active social media commentator who tweeted conspiracy theories aligned with the QAnon movement about the US government, wrote Monday: “Dear government, those within multiple agencies are trying to destroy you all. To all sides you are surrounded by our enemies. We need you to fight for us, not against us.”

The timing of Thursday’s arrest for a long Labor Day weekend comes nearly a year after SoRelle said the FBI confiscated an iPhone from her. A related search warrant stated that investigators continue to investigate whether Rhodes’ employees colluded to undermine election results or violate inflammatory conspiracy laws, as first reported by Mother Jones.

The move came before Rhodes was indicted last January and was seen as a milestone in the Justice Department’s investigation into the Capitol siege, which required permission to search a lawyer’s communications. The approval was required because such searches may pick up material that is subject to attorney-client privilege and off-limits to prosecutors because of the fundamental US legal principle that attorneys keep confidential what their clients have told them.

Prosecutors or a court typically conduct a “filter review” by an outside attorney or attorneys who are not part of the investigation to search such materials.

A separate June replacement indictment against Rhodes alleged that he aided and instigated the destruction of evidence two days after the Capitol breach by encouraging co-conspirators to remove media, files and communications showing their involvement.

Aaron C. Davis contributed to this report.

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