Oath Keepers Florida chapter leader Kelly Meggs was sentenced to 12 years in prison Thursday for seditious conspiracy and other charges related to the U.S. Capitol breach on Jan. 6, 2021.
This is the second sentence to be handed down to a defendant found guilty of seditious conspiracy with relation to the Jan. 6 riot, with the first being handed to Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes, who was sentenced Thursday to 18 years in prison.
Rhodes received the longest sentence, to date, related to the attack on the Capitol.
Along with a 12-year prison sentence, Meggs, 53, of Dunnellon, Florida, was also sentenced to three years of supervised release.
“Today’s sentences reflect the grave threat the actions of these defendants posed to our democratic institutions,” Attorney General Merrick B. Garland said.
“The United States proved at trial that the Oath Keepers plotted for months to violently disrupt the peaceful transfer of power from one administration to the next. The Justice Department will continue to do everything in our power to hold accountable those criminally responsible for the January 6th attack on our democracy.”
Rhodes and Meggs were found guilty on Nov. 29, 2022, after an eight-week trial, followed by three days of deliberation.
Meggs was also found guilty of conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of an official proceeding, conspiracy to prevent an officer from discharging duties and tampering with documents or proceedings.
According to a press release from the Department of Justice, Rhodes, Meggs and others started plotting a plan to oppose, by force, the lawful transfer of presidential power after the Nov. 3, 2020, presidential election.
The plan involved encrypted and private communications to coordinate travel to Washington, D.C., on or around Jan. 6, 2021, when the electoral college vote would be certified.
The DOJ said the defendants and co-conspirators used a variety of means to organize into teams ready and willing to use force and transport firearms to the Capitol, recruit members, organize trainings on combat tactics, transporting paramilitary gear onto the Capitol grounds, and more.
When the crowd gathered at the Capitol on Jan. 6, members forced their way through U.S. Capitol Police barricades and into the building by breaking windows, ramming doors, and assaulting law enforcement officials.
At about 2:30 p.m., the DOJ said, Meggs and other Oath Keepers and affiliates marched in formation up the steps of the Capitol, joined others, and entered the building.
Meggs was ultimately arrested in Florida on Feb. 17, 2021.
Over 1,000 people have been charged with federal crimes stemming from the riot.
About 500 of those people have been sentenced, and over half have received prison terms ranging from a week to over 14 years.
Up until Thursday, the longest sentence was given to a man with a long criminal record who attacked police officers with pepper spray and a chair as he stormed the Capitol.