Luke Broadwater and Alan Feuer at NYT:
The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol said on Wednesday that there was enough evidence to conclude that former President Donald J. Trump and some of his allies might have conspired to commit fraud and obstruction by misleading Americans about the outcome of the 2020 election and attempting to overturn the result.
In a court filing in a civil case in California, the committee’s lawyers for the first time laid out their theory of a potential criminal case against the former president. They said they had accumulated evidence demonstrating that Mr. Trump, the conservative lawyer John Eastman and other allies could potentially be charged with criminal violations including obstructing an official proceeding of Congress and conspiracy to defraud the American people.
The filing also said there was evidence that Mr. Trump’s repeated lies that the election had been stolen amounted to common law fraud.
An Oath Keeper accused of providing protection to Roger Stone before storming the U.S. Capitol in a stolen golf cart pleaded guilty on Wednesday, raising the prospect of a potent witness turning on key players in the violent insurrection.
Joshua James, 34, pleaded guilty to seditious conspiracy and obstruction of justice after communicating and congregating with several other members of the far-right group before and during the Capitol riot. The Alabama resident was originally charged last April, but last month was among 11 individuals to be hit with seditious conspiracy charges, alongside Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes.
During the Wednesday change-for-plea hearing, James said he understood what he was admitting to and that as part of his plea agreement, he had agreed to testify. James now faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, though prosecutors said he may face something closer to 7 years behind bars and at least a $30,000 fine.
The charges for seditious conspiracy are by far the most serious yet lobbed at anyone in connection with the riot, and James represents a potentially bombshell witness in the saga.
Other plea deals from Capitol rioters, including the notorious QAnon Shaman, have typically included an agreement to cooperate with the federal government. Lawyers for James did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment.
Prosecutors allege that prior to the riots, James served as security at the “Stop the Steal” rally in D.C. At least one photo also shows him wearing an Oath Keeper patch the day before and the day of the insurrection. Court documents filed by federal prosecutors have also previously indicated that James previously served as Stone’s bodyguard. Stone has not been charged in connection with the riots, though he has been subpoenaed by the House committee investigating the criminal fiasco.
Photograph of *Roger Stone* on *JANUARY 6th* with Joshua James, who just pled to SEDITIOUS CONSPIRACY and obstructing an official proceeding and is facing 7-9 years in prison as part of a full cooperation agreement.— Spiro Agnew’s Ghost 🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦 (@SpiroAgnewGhost) March 3, 2022
This is going to get quite interesting. pic.twitter.com/5LpeHDLTVY
The first defendant to stand trial in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol “lit the match” that led members of a pro-Trump mob to push past police and drive lawmakers from the chambers where they were set to certify President Biden’s 2020 election victory, prosecutors said Wednesday.
“A mob needs leaders and this man, Guy Wesley Reffitt of Wylie, Texas, drove all the way from home in Texas to D.C. to step up and fulfill that role,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey S. Nestler told a panel of jurors in a federal courthouse during opening statements in the case.
Reffitt, 49, a pandemic-idled oil rig manager and alleged member of the right-wing anti-government movement Three Percenters, was “the tip of this mob’s spear,” in the worst assault on the Capitol since the War of 1812, prosecutors said.
In surveillance video shown publicly for the first time, prosecutors showed a crowd advancing toward a critical police line of defense above the Capitol’s West Terrace that afternoon, ignoring warnings and escalating use of force from a handful of officers guarding the head of its north staircase.