WASHINGTON — An Alabama Oath Keeper who served on Roger Stone’s security detail on January 6 appeared in court Wednesday afternoon to enter a guilty plea – the first of 11 defendants charged with seditious conspiracy to accept a deal from the government.
Joshua James, 34, of Arab, Alabama, appeared before U.S. District Judge Amit P. Mehta to plead guilty to seditious conspiracy and obstruction of an official proceeding. Both are felonies carrying a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in prison.
Prosecutors said James' plea agreement includes testimony in front of a federal grand jury and cooperation with the government's ongoing investigation into other Oath Keepers charged in the Capitol riot.
James and a co-defendant, Roberto Minuta, of Texas, were added to the indictment against the militia in April. The two men were part of a security detail for Stone, a long-time ally of former President Donald Trump, on Jan. 6.
According to a statement from the Justice Department on Thursday, the pair responded to a call for individuals to head to the Capitol on January 6 after the building had already been breached by a pro-Trump mob.
The DOJ says James and Minuta drove to the Capitol in a golf cart, “… at times swerving around law enforcement vehicles with Minuta stating, ‘Patriots are storming the Capitol… so we’re en route in a grand theft auto golf cart to the Capitol building right now… it’s going down guys; it’s literally going down right now Patriots storming the Capitol building.”
Once they arrived, the DOJ says the pair “aggressively berated and taunted” law enforcement officers before forcibly entering the building through the east side Rotunda doors. At the time, the DOJ says, James and Minuta were wearing “military gear,” with Minuta additionally wearing hard-knuckle tactical gloves, ballistic goggles, a radio with an earpiece and carrying bear spray.
In January, James and Minuta were among the 11 Oath Keepers indicted on charges of seditious conspiracy. James was charged with nine counts in that indictment, including allegations he instructed another person to destroy communications following the riot.
James is the first member of the 11-person seditious conspiracy to enter a guilty plea in the case. Other Oath Keepers who have pleaded guilty to Capitol riot charges have also been required as part of their deals to cooperate with the government’s investigation against the militia.
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