A second member of the Oath Keepers militia group pleaded guilty Friday to seditious conspiracy in the effort to obstruct Congress’ certification of President Joe Biden’s election.
As part of an agreement with the government, Brian Ulrich, 44, of Guyton, Georgia, will cooperate with federal prosecutors in the sprawling investigation of the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol attack.
Ulrich’s plea comes more than a month after fellow militia member Joshua James, 34, also acknowledged his role in a conspiracy to block the certification of the 2020 election. Earlier this year, 11 members of the Oath Keepers group were accused of plotting to block Congress’ action, the most serious charges brought so far by federal prosecutors.
For more than a year, according to court documents, Ulrich admitted that he plotted with fellow militia members to block “the execution of the laws of the United States governing the transfer of presidential power.”
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“He and others used encrypted and private communications, equipped themselves with a variety of weapons, donned combat and tactical gear, and were prepared to use force to stop the transfer of power,” prosecutors said.
Less than a month before the attack, Ulrich messaged other Georgia group members, saying “Civil War” may be necessary if Biden was allowed to take office.
“Remember, it’s not over until January 20th,” one member wrote, referring to the day before the inauguration, prompting a response from Ulrich.
“And if there’s a Civil War then there’s a Civil War,” he said.
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Prosecutors said Ulrich, who was told that others would be toting firearms for the event, bought tactical gear, including two-way radio receivers, a holster and tourniquet before arriving in Washington Jan. 4 with fellow members.
“On Jan. 6, after learning the Capitol had been breached, Ulrich and others traveled to the Capitol on golf carts, driving around multiple barricades, including marked law enforcement vehicles,” prosecutors said.
“He and others weaved through the restricted area in a military ‘stack’ formation with hands on shoulders and gear” before marching up stairs on the Capitol’s east side.
When they were routed from the building by officers spraying chemical irritants, prosecutors said Ulrich and the others gathered nearby and later urged the group to “stay below the radar.”
Ulrich faces a maximum punishment of 20 years in prison for seditious conspiracy and 20 years for obstructing an official proceeding.
A sentencing date was not immediately set. Prosecutors typically evaluate the level of cooperation provided before recommending punishment.
With two militia members now cooperating with federal prosecutors, the cases against the other nine defendants, including Oath Keeper founder Elmer Stewart Rhodes, are likely to be significantly bolstered.
Since founding the Oath Keepers in 2009, Rhodes has cast himself as a hero for American conservatives, creating a public image of a gun-toting revolutionary with a private army willing to die for libertarian causes.
When the group was charged earlier this year, prosecutors said Rhodes and the other co-conspirators planned to halt the transfer of power, a hallmark of American democracy.
“They coordinated travel across the country to enter Washington, D.C., and equipped themselves with a variety of weapons, donned combat and tactical gear, and were prepared to answer Rhodes’s call to take up arms at Rhodes’s direction,” court documents stated.
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Contributing: Will Carless and Bart Jansen