Third Oath Keeper pleads guilty to sedition in Capitol riot
A third member of the Oath Keepers, a far-right militia, pleaded guilty in federal court to seditious conspiracy and obstruction charges stemming from the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.
William Todd Wilson, 45, of Newton Grove, North Carolina, agreed Wednesday to help the Department of Justice with its investigation into the breach of the Capitol as part of a plea deal.
“His and others’ actions sought to stop the transfer of power by disrupting a joint session of the U.S. Congress convened to ascertain and count the electoral votes related to the presidential election,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia said in a bulletin.
Wilson is the third Oath Keepers member to plead guilty to seditious conspiracy and obstruction charges, according to the DOJ. Joshua James, 34, of Arab, Alabama, pleaded guilty March 2, and Brian Ulrich, 44, of Guyton, Georgia, pleaded guilty April 29.
According to the plea deal, Wilson, a law enforcement and military veteran, admitted he plotted with other Oath Keeper leaders to use force to try and stop the certification of President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory on Jan. 6.
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In December, Wilson posted that it was “time to fight!” and that “we need to be ready as ever” on the messaging app Signal, according to court documents.
On Jan. 5, Wilson drove to the Washington metropolitan area transporting an “AR-15-style rifle, a 9-millimeter pistol, approximately 200 rounds of ammunition, body armor, a camouflaged combat uniform, pepper spray, a large walking stick intended for use as a weapon, and a pocketknife,” according to the documents. He stayed the night at a Virginia hotel, and on Jan. 6, he was armed with the pocketknife and a neck gaiter when he broke into the Capitol at 2:34 p.m.
Wilson was identified as having been an Oath Keeper member since 2016 and a leader of a chapter from Sampson County, North Carolina. He was the first Oath Keeper conspirator to breach the building, according to the DOJ.
Wilson told law enforcement that after the breach, Oath Keeper leadership met at a restaurant where one person suggested they should get rid of incriminating evidence showing they were at the storming. After arriving home Jan. 7, Wilson took steps to conceal evidence of his participation on his Apple iCloud account and later threw his phone into the ocean, the Justice Department said.
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Almost 800 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the Capitol, including over 250 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement, according to the DOJ. Nine other members of the Oath Keepers, including founder Stewart Rhodes, have been charged with seditious conspiracy and have pleaded not guilty.
The Oath Keepers “are a large but loosely organized collection of individuals, some of whom are associated with militias. Though the Oath Keepers will accept anyone as members, they explicitly focus on recruiting current and former military, law enforcement, and first-responder personnel.” according to the DOJ bulletin.
No sentencing date has been set for Wilson, but he faces up to 20 years in prison for each charge.