Federal officials expect to bring charges against at least 100 more suspects in the sprawling Capitol riot investigation, as they pursue a broad conspiracy involving "a large number of participants."
The new outline of the government's far-reaching inquiry, cast as "one of the largest in American history," was contained in federal court documents Friday in an existing conspiracy case involving nine alleged associates of the paramilitary group known as the Oath Keepers.
Prosecutors are requesting a 60-day continuance, arguing that the "complex case" requires the organization of a massive amount of potential evidence as authorities continue to pursue its far-reaching investigation.
"The investigation and prosecution of the Capitol Attack will likely be one of the largest in American history, both in terms of the number of defendants prosecuted and the nature and volume of the evidence," prosecutors said. "The investigation continues and the government expects that at least one hundred additional individuals will be charged."
While noting that most of the 300 cases so far have been brought against individual defendants, prosecutors said the "government is also investigating conspiratorial activity that occurred prior to and on January 6, 2021.
"Some of the conspiratorial activity being investigated ... involves a large number of participants," the court documents state.
The documents also provide an accounting of investigative actions:
- More than 900 search warrants have been executed, in nearly every state
- Potential evidence has been drawn from more than 15,000 hours of surveillance and officers' body worn camera video
- The public has shared at least 210,000 leads that have contained videos, photos and threads from social media
"As the Capitol Attack investigation is still ongoing, the number of defendants charged and the volume of potentially discoverable materials will only continue to grow," according to the court documents. "In short, even in cases involving a single defendant, the volume of discoverable materials is likely to be significant."
Oath Keepers coordinated, prosecutors say
The government filing is part of the case in which the Oath Keepers are accused of coordinating their alleged roles in the assault, which left five dead including a Capitol police officer.
In an expansion of the case last month, prosecutors added six additional suspects including Kelly Meggs, 52, a Florida man, who allegedly referred to former President Donald Trump directly in a Facebook campaign to draw more recruits to the Jan. 6 demonstration.
"Trump said It's gonna be wild!!!!!!! It's gonna be wild!!!!!!! He wants us to make it WILD that's what he's saying," Meggs allegedly wrote weeks before the Capitol siege. "He called us all to the Capitol and wants us tomakeitwild!!! SirYesSir!!! Gentlemen we are heading to DC pack your s---!!"
Prosecutors filed the first part of its case in January against three of the alleged conspirators, including Virginia organizer Thomas Caldwell.
Federal prosecutors detailed how Caldwell and the others allegedly planned their roles in the attack weeks in advance, then coordinated by radio as they moved into the Capitol in group formation, wearing helmets, reinforced vests and military-style insignia.
In a New Year's Eve post on Facebook, Caldwell alerted the group that the protest against the Biden election "begins for real Jan 5 and 6."
"Let them try to certify some crud on capitol hill with a million or more patriots in the streets," he allegedly wrote. "This kettle is set to boil."
On the day of the attack, according to prosecutors, eight members of the group "prepared themselves for battle before heading to the Capitol by equipping themselves with communication devices and donning reinforced vests, helmets, and goggles."