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A second Oath Keeper pleaded guilty to seditious conspiracy in the Jan. 6 riot

Rioters clash with law enforcement as they attempt to enter the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
Eric Lee
/
Bloomberg via Getty Images
Rioters clash with law enforcement as they attempt to enter the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

A member of the far-right Oath Keepers extremist group has pleaded guilty to seditious conspiracy and obstruction in connection with the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol and agreed to cooperate with the government.

Brian Ulrich entered his guilty plea at a virtual hearing Friday in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. The 44-year-old from Guyton, Ga., is the second Oath Keeper to plead guilty to sedition charges in the highest-profile case to emerge from the federal investigation into the Capitol riot.

Ulrich is one of 11 Oath Keepers, including the group's founder Stewart Rhodes, to be charged with seditious conspiracy and other crimes for allegedly plotting to use force to prevent Congress' Jan. 6 certification of President Biden's election win.

Now, five months before the case is set to go trial, prosecutors have secured the cooperation of two members of the alleged conspiracy to help build their prosecution against the remaining defendants.

"Did you do that sir, agree with Mr. Rhodes and develop a plan to stop the lawful transfer of presidential power by Jan. 20, 2021?" Judge Amit Mehta asked at Friday's hearing.

"Yes, your honor," Ulrich replied.

At one point during the proceedings, Judge Mehta stopped while explaining the maximum sentences for each count and asked whether Ulrich needed a moment.

"I'm alright," Ulrich said.

"Are you sure?" Mehta asked.

"It's not going to get any easier," Ulrich replied.

Mehta said the estimated guidelines range for Ulrich's sentence is 63 to 78 months, or just over 5 years to 7 ½ years.

According to the statement of offense, Ulrich joined an Oath Keepers encrypted chat group in late November of 2020 in which members, including Ulrich, talked about a possible civil war if Biden were inaugurated.

Ulrich later was added to an encrypted Oath Keepers group chat entitled "DC OP: Jan 6 21" that included Rhodes. The members used the chat to plan their travel to Washington, D.C. for Jan. 6. They also discussed what gear to bring, including radios, helmets and weapons.

On the day itself, after the pro-Trump mob had breached the Capitol doors and was streaming inside, Ulrich and several of his co-defendants hopped into golf carts and drove to the Capitol wearing tactical gear and goggles.

Once there, they formed a military stack-style formation and forced their way up the steps and into the building. Ulrich left the Capitol after being hit with chemical spray by police officers trying to protect the complex.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Ryan Lucas covers the Justice Department for NPR.

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