WASHINGTON — Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes called an individual close to former President Donald Trump on Jan. 6 to urge him to activate the militia to stop the transfer of power, according to new documents filed as part of a militia member’s plea hearing on Wednesday.
William Todd Wilson, of North Carolina, appeared before U.S. District Judge Amit P. Mehta plead guilty to two felony counts of seditious conspiracy and obstruction of an official proceeding. Wilson is the third member of the Oath Keepers to plead guilty to seditious conspiracy, following Brian Ulrich, of Georgia, who pleaded guilty Friday and Joshua James, of Alabama, who entered his plea in March.
In a statement of offense filed alongside Wilson’s plea, federal prosecutors say Wilson was one of dozens of Oath Keepers from North Carolina who traveled to D.C. ahead of a planned “Stop the Steal” rally. In advance of Jan. 6, and on the day itself, Wilson said he was in direct contact with Rhodes and other Oath Keepers leaders, including an unnamed leader of the North Carolina chapter who was expected to take part in the group’s “quick reaction force” staged just outside of the city in Virginia.
“Wilson believed that, if called upon, the QRF would provide firearms or cover to co-conspirators (such as himself) operating inside of Washington, D.C.,” the statement of offense reads.
During the riot, Wilson said he, Rhodes and other Oath Keepers bypassed barricades and unlawfully entered the restricted grounds of the Capitol. In the process, Wilson said, he heard Rhodes proclaim they were in the midst of a “civil war.” Wilson eventually entered the building and made his way to the Rotunda, where he “joined in the center of a mob of people trying to push open the Rotunda Doors from inside of the building.” Wilson and other rioters were eventually successfully, opening the doors and allowing the mob – including a military-style “stack” of 14 other Oath Keepers – to enter the building.
While much of the information in Wilson’s statement of offense has been included in other public documents, it also includes new allegations that Rhodes spoke to someone close to the former president after he and other Oath Keepers left the Capitol and regrouped at the Phoenix Hotel on North Capitol Street, where they gathered in a private suite.
“Rhodes then called an individual over speakerphone. Wilson heard Rhodes repeatedly implore the individual to tell President Trump to call upon groups like the Oath Keepers to forcible oppose the transfer of power,” the statement reads. “This individual denied Rhodes’ request to speak directly with President Trump. After the call ended, Rhodes stated to the group, ‘I just want to fight.’”
Wilson said Rhodes continued to advocate for violent resistance after the riot, at one point saying they needed to prepare for “a larger fight against the government akin to the American Revolutionary War.”
As of Wednesday, nine of the original 11 defendants indicted on seditious conspiracy charges were still headed for a trial date on July 11. Wilson was not named in the original indictment. All defendants in the indictment face multiple felony charges carrying maximum sentence of up to 20 years in prison. A number of members of the Oath Keepers are also named in civil suits filed by congressional Democrats, D.C. and U.S. Capitol Police officers and the D.C. Attorney General's Office.
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