Kellye SoRelle, lawyer for Oath Keepers, arrested in Capitol breach on January 6


An attorney for the Oath Keepers who was with the group’s founder, Stewart Rhodes, outside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, was arrested in Texas on Thursday on charges related to the attack on Congress, federal prosecutors said.

Kellye SoRelle, 43, was arrested in Junction, Texas, and is scheduled to appear before a federal judge in Austin on Thursday afternoon, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington. In an indictment released Wednesday, SoRelle was charged with four offenses — conspiracy, obstructing federal proceedings, falsifying documents and misdemeanor trespassing on a building or restricted land — prosecutors said.

A stripped three-page indictment alleges that SoRelle in December 2020 and January 2021 “knowingly combined, conspired, confederated and agreed with others known and unknown to the Grand Jury, to corruptly obstruct, influence and obstruct a official procedure, that is, Congressional certification of the Electoral College vote.

The charging document accuses SoRelle of aiding and abetting others to do the same on January 6, 2021 and of persuading others to withhold or destroy records.

In previous court filings, federal prosecutors named SoRelle as a close adviser at key times to Rhodes, one of approximately 20 alleged leaders or members of two far-right groups who face the historically rare charge of seditious plot. The prosecution accuses associates of Oath Keepers and Proud Boys of conspiring to use force to oppose the authority of the federal government as well as to oppose the legal transfer of power to President Biden by attacking the US Capitol .

SoRelle was not charged with seditious conspiracy, but with separate obstruction of a formal charge the government filed against other members of these two groups and nearly 300 total Jan. 6 defendants.

A lawyer for SoRelle could not immediately be reached for comment. SoRelle accompanied Rhodes to an interview with a Post reporter last year in Fort Worth and described what she personally experienced at the Capitol on Jan. 6 as largely peaceful, with protesters let into the building by police. SoRelle said she saw authorities open the gates and protesters enter the Capitol from the top of a planter she climbed for a view of the crowd. She also said that Rhodes and another oath-keeper at one point pulled her away as a wave of people headed for open doors.

“There were no officers there to tell us we were going in and we had to leave,” she said.

US authorities have alleged that members of the Oath Keepers coordinated travel, equipment and firearms and stashed weapons outside Washington, ready to “heed Rhodes’ call to take up arms under the direction of Rhodes”.

In plea documents, cooperating defendants of the Oathkeepers admitted to participating in a group that forced entry through the doors of the Capitol rotunda after walking in single file in a pile on the steps wearing life vests. camouflage, helmets, goggles and insignia of the oath keepers.

Rhodes exchanged numerous calls with a deputy and alleged attendees who previously guarded Roger Stone, and more than a dozen members met Rhodes and SoRelle after leaving the Capitol just outside the building around 4 p.m. that day- there, according to court documents.

Rhodes and the remaining co-defendants pleaded not guilty, and Rhodes in a interview with the Washington Post in March 2021 said there were no plans to breach the Capitol. He said the group had staged guns in northern Virginia in case it was needed as a “quick reaction force” if Trump invoked the Insurrection Act and mobilized armed militias to maintain power.

SoRelle also appeared in court records as a point of contact between Rhodes and Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, a leader of the Proud Boys, on the eve of the Jan. 6 breach. Tarrio was charged with seditious conspiracy with four lieutenants. Video released in Tarrio’s case by his defense attorneys and U.S. prosecutors traced his travels to Washington, DC, including his meeting in an underground parking lot with Rhodes on January 5.

That evening, Tarrio shook hands and spoke with Rhodes and SoRelle in the garage of the Hall of the States Building near Capitol Hill. Also present were the leaders of two right-wing pro-Trump groups: Joshua Macias, a speaker scheduled for the following day, and Bianca Gracia, a Jan. 6 event planner linked to the White House. When Tarrio appeared on camera in Rhodes and SoRelle, the film crew was asked to step away and did not record any substantive discussion in clips released to the public.

During a bail hearing in May, Tarrio’s attorney, Nayib Hassan, said Tarrio met Rhodes by chance while looking for an attorney to represent him after he was arrested by DC police for a separate incident. – the burning of a stolen Black Lives Matter banner from a DC church in December. 2020 after another pro-Trump rally – to which he later pleaded guilty and served a four-month prison sentence.

“I just need to talk to him. This guy has a good lawyer, and he was a 2A [Second Amendment] lawyer who got this guy out,” Tarrio says to the camera as he enters the garage, without giving further details.

Separately, SoRelle has become Rhodes’ point of contact with other Donald Trump supporters seeking to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. Another accused of Oath Keepers this spring made public the transcription from a Nov. 9, 2020 videoconference in which Rhodes asks SoRelle members to debrief on “multiple pods working” to challenge Biden’s election victory. SoRelle said those in the pods included 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 tweeting QAnon-aligned conspiracy theories about the US government, wrote on Monday, “Dear government, those in multiple agencies are all trying to get you destroy. On all sides you are surrounded by our enemies. We need you to fight for us, not against us.

The timing of Thursday’s arrest before a long Labor Day weekend comes nearly a year after SoRelle said the FBI seized an iPhone from him. A related search warrant said investigators were continuing to investigate whether Rhodes associates conspired to overturn election results or violate seditious conspiracy lawsas 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 seek communications from an attorney. The approval was necessary because such searches can retrieve material that is subject to attorney-client privilege and barred to prosecutors because of the basic US legal principle that lawyers keep what their clients tell them confidential.

Prosecutors or a court usually set up a “filter review” by third-party attorney or attorneys not part of the investigation to review these documents.

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

Aaron C. Davis contributed to this report.

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