Federal prosecutors alleged that a leader in the Oath Keepers militia group discussed forming an "alliance" and coordinating plans with another far-right group, the Proud Boys, ahead of the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.
The court filing, which includes records of Facebook messages from accused Florida Oath Keepers leader Kelly Meggs, is the first time prosecutors have suggested a connection between the two far-right extremist groups ahead of the deadly Capitol riot.
Meggs, 52, is among 10 members and associates of the Oath Keepers charged with plotting to stop the certification of President Joe Biden’s victory. The case against those affiliated with the Oath Keepers is the largest conspiracy case brought by prosecutors so far in the attack. Several Proud Boys members have also been charged with conspiring to obstruct Congress.
Prosecutors allege that Meggs "plotted with his co-conspirators to stop the certification of the Electoral College vote, prepared to use violence if necessary, and stormed the Capitol."
On Dec. 19, Meggs wrote in a Facebook message that he "organized an alliance between Oath Keepers, Florida 3%ers, and Proud Boys." (The Florida Three Percenters are an anti-government movement.)
"We have decided to work together and shut this s*** down," Meggs continued, according to the document prosecutors filed late Tuesday urging the judge to keep Meggs locked up while he awaits trial.
Days later, he wrote "Contact with PB and they always have a big group. Force multiplier," according to the court filing.
Meggs wrote in a subsequent post that the Oath Keepers would probably be guarding someone during the day (the name of the individual is blacked out in the court filing), "but at night we have orchestrated a plan" with the Proud Boys.
"We are gonna march with them for a while then fall back to the back of the crowd and turn off. Then we will have the proud boys get in front of them the cops will get between antifa and proud boys. We will come in behind antifa and beat the hell out of them," Meggs wrote, according to the filing.
In another message on Dec. 26, Meggs said he believed President Donald Trump would invoke the Insurrection Act.
"Wait for the 6th when we are all in DC to insurrection," Meggs said, according to the filing; he warned a recruit on Jan. 3 to "Tell your friend this isn’t a Rally!!"
Meggs also, according to the filing, posted items that people might need to bring to D.C., including gas masks, mace, batons, and armor.
Defense attorneys have argued that any discussions their clients had in the weeks leading up to Jan. 6 were about preparations to provide security at the rally before the riot or to protect the pro-Trump crowd from antifa activists they believed might attack them. They have denied that there was any plot to storm the Capitol or obstruct the certification of the Electoral College vote.
Authorities have said the Oath Keepers were "prepared to do whatever was necessary to stop the certification" but have conceded they do not have records in which someone explicitly says the plan was to breach the Capitol.
Meggs' attorney argued in his request for pretrial release that despite the "inflammatory language" authorities have used, there is no evidence that Meggs committed any acts of violence or damaged government property.
On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta agreed to release from jail another defendant in the Oath Keepers conspiracy, Laura Steele of North Carolina, while she awaits trial. Mehta said there is no evidence Steele destroyed property, assaulted anyone at the Capitol or, unlike other defendants, was involved in recruiting or training ahead of the attack.
More than 300 people have been charged in connection to the riot. Authorities have said they believe at least 100 more could face charges.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.