Third Oath Keepers member pleads guilty to seditious conspiracy in US Capitol attack

After the attack on the US Capitol, William Todd Wilson tossed his phone into ocean to evade authorities, prosecutors said

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A North Carolina man pleaded guilty to conspiring with other members of the far-right Oath Keepers militia group to forcefully halt the peaceful transfer of power after US President Joe Biden's 2020 electoral victory.

William Todd Wilson of Newton Grove, North Carolina, is the third Oath Keepers member to plead guilty to a seditious conspiracy charge stemming from the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol.

Brian Ulrich of Guyton, Georgia, pleaded guilty to the same charge last Friday. Joshua James, of Arab, Alabama, was the first Oath Keepers member to plead guilty to seditious conspiracy.

Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes, of Granbury, Texas, and eight others linked to the group have pleaded not guilty to seditious conspiracy and other charges. A trial for some of them is scheduled to start in July.

Unlike James and Ulrich, Wilson wasn't charged in the initial January 2022 indictment for the seditious conspiracy case.

Wilson had been an Oath Keeper member since 2016 and a Sampson County leader of the group's North Carolina chapter, a court filing showed. The filing describes him as a military and law enforcement veteran but doesn't include any details of his service.

“Some members of the Oath Keepers, like Wilson, believe that the federal government has been co-opted by a cabal of elites actively trying to strip American citizens of their rights,” the filing says.

Wilson brought a rifle, pistol, ammunition and other combat gear when he drove to the Washington area on January 5. He left the weapons in a Virginia hotel room but was armed with a pocketknife and wearing a neck gaiter and beanie hat to mask his appearance when he and other Oath Keepers entered the Capitol on January 6, prosecutors said.

They added that before he left the Capitol, Wilson joined a mob of people trying to push open the Rotunda Doors from inside the building.

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Later that afternoon, a court filing showed, Wilson joined Mr Rhodes and others in a private hotel suite, where Mr Rhodes called somebody over a speaker phone and repeatedly implored the person to tell former president Donald Trump to “call upon groups like the Oath Keepers to forcibly oppose the transfer of power”. The unidentified person on the phone refused to let Mr Rhodes speak directly with Mr Trump.

“After the call ended, Rhodes stated to the group, ‘I just want to fight,'” the filing says.

Several days after he returned home, Wilson tossed his mobile phone into the Atlantic Ocean to keep its contents out of law enforcement’s hands, prosecutors said.

Wilson also pleaded guilty to a charge of obstructing an official proceeding, the joint session of Congress that certified Mr Biden's victory over Mr Trump.

Four other people connected with the Oath Keepers have pleaded guilty to obstruction of Congress and a lesser conspiracy charge.

More than 780 people have been charged with federal crimes related to the January 6 riot and about 270 of them have pleaded guilty, mostly to misdemeanours. More than 160 have been sentenced.

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Updated: May 06, 2022, 4:10 AM