4 Linked to “Three Percenters” Militia Found Guilty of Jan. 6 Capitol Riot Involvement

4 Linked to “Three Percenters” Militia Found Guilty of Jan. 6 Capitol Riot Involvement

A federal jury in Washington has convicted four California men associated with the “Three Percenters” militia movement on charges stemming from the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot. Erik Scott Warner, Felipe Antonio Martinez, Derek Kinnison, and Ronald Mele faced accusations of conspiracy and obstruction of an official proceeding, specifically the Congressional session to affirm the 2020 presidential election results.

The verdict was delivered on Tuesday, with the men being convicted of conspiring to obstruct Congress’s certification of President Joe Biden’s election victory.

Defense counsel for Martinez and Warner have withheld comments post-verdict, and communications seeking remarks from Mele’s attorney were initiated. Nicolai Cocis, representing Kinnison, expressed disappointment in the outcome, indicating potential future legal action. Cocis conveyed Kinnison’s patriotic motivations and regret over his participation in the day’s events.

Prosecutors presented evidence asserting the group’s involvement with the Three Percenters, a militia network referencing the dubious historical claim that only 3% of American colonists fought against British rule. The men were indicted in connection with other alleged co-conspirators, including Alan Hostetter, an ex-police chief and outspoken critic of pandemic restrictions, who was separately convicted in July, and Russell Taylor, who admitted guilt to a conspiracy charge in April.

Prior to the riot, the defendants allegedly engaged in a Telegram chat group titled “The California Patriots – DC Brigade,” which was purportedly formed by Taylor to organize individuals identified as “fighters,” encouraging them to come armed to Washington.

The group’s travel to the capital was marked by coordination, as Warner, Martinez, Kinnison, and Mele journeyed together from California. On the day of the riot, the indictment notes, Warner unlawfully entered the Capitol, while Martinez donned a tactical vest, and Kinnison wore a gas mask on the Capitol’s Upper West Terrace. Mele was accused of filming himself on the Capitol stairs, purportedly urging others to “Storm the Capitol!”

Additionally, Warner and Kinnison faced convictions for tampering with evidence, allegedly erasing evidence of the “DC Brigade” chat post-riot.

This trial contributes to the extensive legal proceedings following the Capitol breach, with nearly 1,200 individuals charged, over 800 convicted or pleading guilty, and approximately 700 sentenced, a majority serving varying lengths of incarceration.

Chris Morris
Author: Chris Morris

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