Speed Reads

Secret recording released

FBI agent testifies about secret recording of Oath Keepers planning Jan. 6 riot

Federal prosecutors shared in court on Tuesday audio of an alleged Oath Keepers planning meeting, in which the right-wing militia discussed plans to "fight" at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, CNN reports.

Five alleged group members, including leader Stewart Rhodes, are standing trial in a Washington, D.C. federal court after pleading not guilty to Jan. 6-related charges, including seditious conspiracy. 

In their opening statements on Monday, prosecutors introduced snippets of communications they said proved the Oath Keepers plotted to interfere with the congressional certification of President Biden's win. FBI agent Michael Palian continued his testimony concerning the recordings on Tuesday. 

Prosecutor Jeffrey Nestler had told jurors that an "increasingly alarmed follower" secretly recorded the two-hour meeting, which occured in November 2020, before sharing the recording with authorities. Palian stated that the informant initially sent the tip in November but had to resubmit the tip to the FBI again in March 2021, per CNN. On day two of the trial, Palian told jurors he was unaware if anyone had reached out to the tipster between the two submissions, The Washington Post reports.

The recording reveals how group members discussed bringing weapons to Washington, D.C. in their efforts to storm the Capitol on behalf of former President Donald Trump. On the recorded call, Rhodes can be heard telling the group of over a hundred people, "We've got to be in D.C. … You've got to make sure that [Trump] knows that you are willing to die, to fight for this country." He also encouraged listeners to them to arm themselves, per the Post.