Jan. 6 committee seeking phone records of 2 Oath Keepers facing conspiracy charges

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Two Florida-based members of the Oath Keepers facing conspiracy charges for breaching the Capitol are suing the Jan. 6 committee to block a subpoena for their personal phone records.

Kelly and Connie Meggs, two of 19 defendants in the most sprawling case to emerge from the mob attack on the Capitol, say they were notified of the subpoena by Verizon last month. The subpoena seeks phone records of their family plan from November 2020 through January 2021.

It’s the first indication that the committee is seeking records of defendants facing criminal charges for storming the Capitol. The Meggses were among the dozen Oath Keepers who famously entered the Capitol in a so-called stack formation. Kelly Meggs’ private messages, revealed by prosecutors, indicated he was searching for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and he’s been held in detention for nearly a year awaiting trial.

Connie Meggs was released by Judge Amit Mehta, who determined the evidence of her participation in the alleged conspiracy showed she played a less central role than her husband.

The Jan. 6 committee has already subpoenaed Stewart Rhodes, the leader of the Oath Keepers, for documents and testimony. Rhodes has not been charged in connection with the Jan. 6 attack, but he was present on Capitol grounds that day outside the building and videos show he assembled many of the Oath Keepers at a rally point nearby. He also communicated frequently with Kelly Meggs and others throughout the breach.

In their lawsuit — filed by attorneys Juli Haller and Jonathon Moseley, who are also representing Connie and Kelly Meggs, respectively, in the criminal case — the Meggses say the subpoena is illegitimate because it doesn’t further the committee’s legislative purpose, could prejudice a future jury and seeks too broad a tranche of records from Verizon.

“A release of these records, with a pending criminal trial, would be unduly and highly Prejudicial to getting a fair jury cut from a cross-section of the District of Columbia,” the attorneys argue. “And the Subpoena seeks records that would provide information about the Meggs’ personal life over three months, and because Mrs. Megg’s Verizon Account was a family plan, other users are also associated with the account. And obviously this implicates the privacy interests of those third parties as well.”

Jan. 6 committee members have repeatedly emphasized that their goal is to develop legislation in response to the Capitol attack, as well as to Donald Trump’s monthslong campaign to overturn the 2020 election results. As part of that investigation, they say they intend to examine the role domestic extremism played in the attack. In addition to Rhodes, the panel has subpoenaed Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio and other leaders of organizations connected to events on Jan. 6. Tarrio is serving a six-month prison term for stealing and burning a Black Lives Matter flag during a protest in 2020.

But the subpoena for the Meggses information is the closest overlap yet between the committee and the Justice Department’s ongoing criminal cases. The Oath Keepers’ prosecution is the most complex case to emerge among the more than 725 facing charges for their actions on Jan. 6. In addition to the 19 defendants in the Oath Keepers case, several others have pleaded guilty and entered cooperation agreements with prosecutors. Mehta has scheduled two trials in the case scheduled for mid- to late-2022.

Moseley is also representing Stop the Steal founder Ali Alexander in a lawsuit against the Jan. 6 committee for subpoenaing his phone records. In that case, Alexander had already provided testimony and records to the panel about his contacts with members of Congress in advance of Jan. 6, as well as a call he received that morning from Kimberly Guilfoyle, the fiancée of Donald Trump Jr. But Alexander opposed the subpoena as too expansive.

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