An FBI agent testifying in the Oath Keepers trial said he witnessed U.S. senators crying on Jan. 6, 2021, after the U.S. Capitol was breached.
“I did,” special agent Michael Palian testified on the stand in federal court in Washington on Oct. 3 when questioned on the point by prosecutors.
Palian said he was working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic but was directed to respond to the Capitol at approximately 3:30 p.m. on Jan. 6 due to the breach.
After arriving at the Capitol, Palian was assigned to help protect a group of 80-plus senators, or at least 80 percent of the upper chamber.
Palian and other personnel stayed with the group until 7:30 p.m., when they escorted the group to the House chamber, where the electoral votes were being certified.
“It looked like a bomb had gone off,” Palian said, describing seeing broken windows and other damage while walking the group through the Capitol.
Due to the pepper spray that had been sprayed, if one removed their mask they would start coughing, according to Palian.
He was testifying during the trial of Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes and four others linked to the group. It is the first Jan. 6 trial dealing with seditious conspiracy charges. The stakes are high for the Justice Department, which last secured such a conviction at trial nearly 30 years ago, and intends to try two more groups on the charge later this year.
Rhodes and his group were prepared to go to war to stop Joe Biden from becoming president, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Nestler told jurors in opening arguments. The group celebrated the Capital breach as a victory in that fight and continued their plot even after Biden’s electoral victory was certified, Nestler alleged.
“Their goal was to stop, by whatever means necessary, the lawful transfer of presidential power, including by taking up arms against the United States government,” the prosecutor said during his opening statement. “They concocted a plan for armed rebellion to shatter a bedrock of American democracy.”
Nestler did not mention how Rhodes and others were not armed when they were at or near the Capitol. Some of them never went inside the building.
Defense attorneys accused prosecutors of cherry-picking comments from messages and videos and said the government has no evidence there ever was any plan to attack the Capitol. Rhodes’ attorney said his client will take the stand and show that the Oath Keepers had merely been preparing for orders they expected from former President Donald Trump but never came.
“Stewart Rhodes meant no harm to the Capitol that day. Stewart Rhodes did not have any violent intent that day,” Rhodes’ attorney, Phillip Linder, said. “The story the government is trying to tell you today is completely wrong.”
On trial with Rhodes, of Granbury, Texas, are Kelly Meggs, leader of the Florida chapter of the Oath Keepers; Kenneth Harrelson, another Florida Oath Keeper; Thomas Caldwell, a retired U.S. Navy intelligence officer from Virginia, and Jessica Watkins, who led an Ohio militia group.
Seditious conspiracy carries a jail term of up to 20 years. The defendants face other charges as well.
As prosecutors questioned Palian, they showed messages recovered by investigators. In some, Oath Keepers vowed violence if Biden were to become president. In one, Rhodes said Trump must not concede the election.
“They just named Uncle Joe the 46th President,” one Oath Keepers member wrote after the election but before Jan. 6.
“Trump must not concede,” Rhodes replied.
Defense lawyers noted that no others agreed with the statement and others like it, which they said would be required to prove a conspiracy.
A prosecutor disagreed, saying, “when two people discuss plans, that means conspiracy.”
I’ll take “Things That Never Happened” for $1000 Alex.
The Gestapo FBI has lost ALL credibility which means ANYTHING claimed by ANY of these politicized FBI agent is likely to be dishonest, inaccurate, biased, and therefore should be doubted.
The FBI works on behalf of the Democrats and can’t be trusted to serve our country in a fair and impartial capacity.
What a bunch of Wussies ! I wouldnt vote for them. Boo Hoo. A bunch of citizens very angry about a stolen election (JNow proven) stage a noisy rightful protest in a building with people that are “Supposed” to HEAR our objections.