By ALANNA DURKIN RICHER and MICHAEL KUNZELMAN
A member of the Oath Keepers extremist group pleaded guilty Wednesday in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in a major step forward for the massive investigation into the insurrection.
It was also the first guilty plea in the major conspiracy case brought against members of the Oath Keepers.
Graydon Young, who was accused alongside 15 other members and associates of the Oath Keepers of conspiring to block the congressional certification of Joe Biden’s presidential victory, pleaded guilty to two counts: conspiracy and obstruction of an official proceeding.
The second charge calls for up to 20 years in prison, but U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta said federal sentencing guidelines call for Young to serve between 5 1/4 years and 6 1/2 years behind bars. Prosecutors could ask for even less time in exchange for his cooperation against other defendants.
Young, of Englewood, Florida, was arrested in February and charged in the sweeping conspiracy case accusing members of the Oath Keepers of coming to Washington prepared to to use violence and intent on stopping the certification of the vote. Authorities said in court documents that Young joined the Florida chapter of the Oath Keepers in December, writing that he was “looking to get involved in helping …”
Later that month, Young reached out to a company that does firearms and combat training about a rifle class for four people, according to the indictment. Authorities say Young, wearing a helmet and tactical vest, was part of the military-style “stack” seen on camera marching through the crowd before entering the Capitol building.
Four other people — a Tennessee man, Maryland man and a Virginia couple — have pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges in the last two weeks. Judges have scheduled hearings for at least three other people to plead guilty to riot-related charges.
Nearly 500 people have been charged in the insurrection where a pro-Trump mob sought to disrupt the certification of Biden’s victory. Prosecutors have brought similar conspiracy charges against members of the Proud Boys, another far-right extremist group.
Richer reported from Boston and Kunzelman from College Park, Maryland.