The Department of Justice is eyeing charging members of the Oath Keepers militia group with sedition for their alleged role in the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, The New York Times reported on Monday.
Law enforcement officials briefed on the matter told the Times that authorities have been mulling whether to file sedition charges for weeks, accusing the militia group’s members of conspiring to overthrow the government.
Newly sworn-in Attorney General Merrick GarlandMerrick GarlandGrassley calls for federal prosecutor to probe botched FBI Nassar investigation Durham seeking indictment of lawyer with ties to Democrats: reports Woman allegedly abused by Nassar after he was reported to FBI: 'I should not be here' MORE is expected to have the final decision over whether prosecutors would move forward with such charges, which the department has not successfully argued for in more than two decades, the Times noted.
Oath Keepers members Thomas Caldwell, Jessica Watkins and Donovan Crowl have all been indicted on conspiring to obstruct the congressional certification of the Electoral College vote that confirmed President BidenJoe BidenHouse Democrat threatens to vote against party's spending bill if HBCUs don't get more federal aid Overnight Defense & National Security — The Pentagon's deadly mistake Haitians stuck in Texas extend Biden's immigration woes MORE’s election win.
Justice Department senior officials have been given evidence on the three charged individuals and have examined whether a sedition charge could be pursued. But prosecutors have not yet provided a formal prosecution memo or a draft of an indictment, one official told the newspaper.
Out of the 400 defendants accused of participating in the Capitol riot, about two dozen total face conspiracy charges, the Times reported.
The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Times report was released a day after the former U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, Michael Sherwin, told CBS’s “60 Minutes” that evidence is “trending" toward sedition charges and “probably meets those elements.”
Carmen Hernandez, Crowl’s defense lawyer, told the Times that she has “seen no evidence to support a seditious conspiracy charge against my client” and was “surprised that the former U.S. attorney would comment so publicly on the case.”
Caldwell’s attorney David Fischer told the outlet that his client “adamantly denies that he broke any laws.”
Prosecutors have said that Watkins was waiting for “activation” from former President TrumpDonald TrumpOvernight Defense & National Security — The Pentagon's deadly mistake Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Interior returns BLM HQ to Washington France pulls ambassadors to US, Australia in protest of submarine deal MORE in the weeks after he lost the election before storming the Capitol in an alleged attempt to stop Congress from confirming Biden as the incoming president.
The Justice Department announced charges against six additional members of the Oath Keepers in February.