Oathkeeper Defendant Downplays ‘Heavy Weapons’ Message

WASHINGTON (AP) — The defendant, who was indicted along with members of the far-right Oath Keepers militia group in the January 6 U.S. Capitol riot, accused him of transporting “heavy weapons” across the Potomac River. ‘s message was downplayed by calling it “creative writing”. testimony on Tuesday.

68-year-old Thomas Caldwell seriously considered securing a boat to transport weapons across the river from a large “ready force” arsenal hidden in a hotel room by the Oathkeepers. His question about shipping “heavy weapons” was one of the prosecutors’ most chilling pieces of evidence in the case accusing Caldwell and others. A Violent Conspiracy to Block the Transfer of Presidential Power from Republican Donald Trump to Democrat Joe Biden.

“I do a lot of creative writing and just got out there,” Caldwell testified. Said he let go. The gun has never left the hotel room, but it is a key part of the prosecution’s inflammatory conspiracy, which it claims the group plots to block the transfer of power by force.

The defense has spent weeks on prosecutors’ lack of evidence that there is no clear plan to attack the Capitol before January 6, 2021. A large outdoor rally behind the White House.

Caldwell is The trial against him was coming to an end with Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes and three others. After more than a month of testimony. The Jan. 6 attack, which left a police officer bloodied and bruised and sent a lawmaker running for his life, is the most serious case ever to go to court. may be done.

Prosecutors spent weeks meticulously explaining what the Oath Keepers said. All necessary measures planned for weeks to overthrow Biden’s election victory.

Messages from Caldwell include a letter after the March of the Million MAGA in November 2020, in which he wrote that he “could burn Congress down if you wanted,” and that from immediately after the election ” Another letter raised the possibility of a “civil war” was also included.

During cross-examination, prosecutors appeared to contradict his testimony, including his statement that he and his wife did not witness violence when they entered the Capitol grounds on Jan. 6. showed the message. Evangelize, or share what he hears from others. At times his explanations were confusing. For example, when a prosecutor showed a video of his wife using profanity in reference to Congress during a riot, he said her wife had “a great opportunity to start the healing process in our country.” He said he was trying to express that

Caldwell told jurors that his previous trip to Washington prior to January 6 was not an awareness of Operation Oathkeepers, but rather an attempt to determine the number of portable toilets available and where they might be located. He said it was an effort.

Caldwell met the members of the Oathkeepers for the first time in November 2020 and became close with them, allowing him to stay at their property in rural Virginia. He never officially joined the group.

A disabled veteran who served 19 years in the U.S. Navy and suffered a cracked spine in service when he was younger, he now copes with a variety of physical ailments and uses a cane when needed. walking. He once got his top secret security clearance and even worked for the FBI, his attorney said.

Defense attorneys have accused prosecutors of unfairly portraying Oathkeeper’s message out of context.


For full coverage of the Capitol riots, please visit https://www.apnews.com/capitol-siege.