During a Wednesday hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Nestler told a judge that surveillance footage recorded on Jan. 7 at the Comfort Inn Ballston in Arlington, Virginia, shows an alleged member of the Oath Keepers carrying what appeared to be rifle cases, BuzzFeed News reports.
While the footage is not considered conclusive, BuzzFeed writes that Wednesday’s presentation was the “most comprehensive” to date when it comes to showing that the extremist group “came prepared for violence” ahead of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and “stashed firearms just outside of Washington, D.C., that they could easily access.” The footage does not include any images of actual guns.
Before the disclosure of the surveillance video, the government “had shared little evidence other than text messages that referenced” the alleged strategy, BuzzFeed notes. While dozens of rioters have been charged with assaulting police officers during the riot, most of the incidents do not appear to involve advanced planning; the government’s case against the Oath Keepers is one of the few that specifically focuses on that notion.
The man captured on video was Kenneth Harrelson. His lawyer Nina Ginsburg dismissed the idea that the footage “was proof of anything other than that Harrelson had luggage at the Comfort Inn,” BuzzFeed reports. Read more at BuzzFeed News.