A member of the far-right Oath Keepers movement, who entered the Capitol during the Jan. 6, 2021 riots, told a federal judge and jury on Monday that he and fellow Oath Keepers were in high spirits as they entered the building. He said he felt it. But now he’s just ashamed.
Graydon Young, 57, of Englewood, Fla., who worked as a software developer and served in the U.S. Navy Reserve, pleaded guilty to riot-related charges last June and entered such a plea. Did.
On Monday, Young told the judges and jurors who will hear the case against five Oathkeepers, including militia group founder and leader Stewart Rose, in the run-up to the November 2020 presidential election. said he became a staunch supporter of President Donald Trump in the election.
He got involved in the Oath Keepers movement because he believed it was “better than a 50-50 chance” that there was massive fraud in the election that Joe Biden won over Trump.
Young, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy and obstruction charges and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors investigating the riots, told jurors “too much to watch election fraud propaganda on YouTube and Facebook before the 2020 election.” He watched two to six hours a day and said he was “really enthralled” with what was going on, which clouded his judgment. he said.
At one point, Young told jurors that he was in direct contact with Rhodes and told him it wasn’t “a fool’s business” to head to Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6, 2021.
Young attended a rally Trump addressed before the riots and made his way to the Capitol after being told he and fellow Oathkeepers would serve as VIP escorts. Young said his group was escorting a “middle-aged” woman who was having trouble keeping up.
Young said Kelly Meggs, the leader of the Orth Keepers from Florida and the current defendant in the trial, was scheduled to rendezvous with Rhodes, and asked him and his group to move immediately. Young testified that Meggs had told him the Capitol building had been torn down, saying, “We went in.
“It felt like a Bastille-type movement,” Young said, referring to the infamous Paris prison riots early in the French Revolution. was there.”
“It was exhilarating. I knew I was going to be at an important event.”
Mr Young said other rioters who stormed the steps of the Capitol recognized his group as the Oath Keepers and said, “The crowd parted and climbed the steps when we pushed up in military-like formations. I allowed it,” he said. He said he and the other Oathkeepers climbed the stairs with their hands on each other’s shoulders, but then separated from each other once they entered the building.
He testified that he posted on Facebook at 4:22 p.m. Later that night he left Washington with his sister. The day after arriving at his home in North Carolina, Young burned the helmet and vest he had brought to the riot, as well as the Oathkeeper’s shirt, by which time he and his sister were “firmly in freak-out mode.” he said.
He has since removed Signal, an encrypted messaging app used by the Oath Keepers, from his phone and Facebook account.
Young said he felt, prior to the riot, that he and his fellow Oathkeepers were engaged in “some sort of historic event to achieve a goal”. “I’m very embarrassed,” he told the jury.
After pleading guilty in his case, in tears before a jury, Young told the judge that he deeply regretted his actions and, on a personal level, must make a full and complete confession. Said it wouldn’t.
Under questioning from defense attorneys, Young said he was unaware of any clear plans or intentions on the part of the Oath Guardians to break through the Capitol prior to the riot, and that the move to do so was merely ” Stupid, let’s do this’… we never explicitly said we were going to participate. We all just participated.
At the prosecution’s retrial, Young said, “I think he acted as a traitor to his own government.”
Young admitted that he could face up to 72 months in prison for a guilty plea, but in light of his efforts to provide “substantial assistance” to investigators and prosecutors. He expressed his desire for a lesser sentence.
He is one of four Oath Keepers who have pleaded guilty to riot-related charges to date. In previous testimony during the current trial, Jason Dolan, another member of the group who entered the guilty plea, said: Group members testified they were not explicitly told to prepare for violence in the Capitol, there was an unspoken acknowledgment in their conversation that “we need to fight back.” …It was that kind of feeling.
Last week, the trial of Rhodes and his co-defendants was on adjournment for several days after Rhodes tested positive for COVID-19. But on Monday, Rhodes donned an eyepatch and put on a suit to return to court, where he sat at the table with the other defendants and their attorneys.