April 1, 2023

CONVICTED! One more Oath Keepers member guilty of domestic terror charges

CONVICTED! One more Oath Keepers member guilty of domestic terror charges

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Jeremy Brown, an avowed member of the Oath Keepers, has been found guilty by a Tampa jury of five federal felonies related to weapons charges and possession of classified documents. The 20-year United States Army Special Forces veteran is facing up to 11 years in prison.

Originally charged with 10 counts including illegally possessing firearms, grenades, and national security documents, four were dismissed by the jury for lack of evidence.

Brown’s presence at the Capitol on January 6th prompted an investigation into the former service member that lead to his arrest eight months later.

Though there’s no evidence Brown ever entered the Capitol, he was initially charged with illegally being on Capitol grounds.

On September 29, 2021, the Justice Department filed a criminal complaint in a Pinellas County federal court for “knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority” and intending to disrupt the orderly conduct of government business by engaging in disorderly conduct on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol.

The next day, he was arrested.

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Despite his presence during the MAGA attack on democracy, the charges Brown stood trial for are a result of the federally executed search warrant at his Florida home on September 30, 2021.

Brown made claims that the FBI tried to recruit him as a confidential informant prior to the riot and accused the government of blocking key evidence, local Tampa NBC affiliate WFLA reported.

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“They want to exclude from the American people and the legal record very specific aspects of my defense because they know what they’ve done,” he said in an interview from jail. “So they know what they need to exclude.”

According to Florida Phoenix, the FBI, with a warrant in hand, searched the home and RV belonging to the far-right militia member where they found unregistered firearms, explosives, and Defense Department documents.

This led to Brown being convicted of two counts of unlawfully owning two guns, two counts of possession of military grenades (all felonies), one misdemeanor count of knowingly storing explosive material illegally, and one count of possessing national security documents – a 2011 report related to the search for missing soldier, Bowe Bergdahl.

The former soldier’s attorney, Roger Futerman, argued that classified documents found on a CD have nothing to do with his client, and suggested that it was planted by the FBI.

The lack of supporting evidence on the four charges related to the disc created enough reasonable doubt with the jury, and they failed to convict.

After testimony from a detective at the scene, however, the jury wasn’t swayed by the defense’s claims that the charges related to possession of live grenades should be dismissed due to lack of DNA or fingerprint evidence.

“A Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office narcotics detective testified that he found the grenades in a “chest-rig” in the bedroom of Brown’s RV – a type of military vest used to carry firearm magazines and other items,” Florida Phoenix reported.

The vest was similar to one the 48-year-old Army veteran was pictured wearing on January 6th.

An unnamed defendant in a separate federal case testified that he was told by the convicted leader of the Florida arm of the Oath Keepers, Kelly Meggs, in an encrypted Signal chat “that Brown was a ‘loose cannon’ and had explosives inside the RV,” Federal Magistrate Judge Sean P. Flynn wrote.

The defendant also identified Brown from a picture.

Brown has been incarcerated at the Pinellas County Jail since his arrest 14 months ago. Judge Flynn, who oversaw the now-convicted felon’s October 2021 bond hearing said that he “poses a danger to law enforcement officials.”

“Brown must be detained pending trial because the United States had proven by clear and convincing evidence that no condition or combination of conditions of release would reasonably assure the safety of any other person and the community. In particular, the Court found that Brown posed a danger to law enforcement officials, including those who would be tasked with supervising Brown should he be released on bond” Flynn wrote in his order.

Judge Flynn was especially concerned because of a note posted on Brown’s door addressed to law enforcement that was presented as evidence.

“Dear FBI/DHS/USMS/HCSO, re-read your Oath, you are being used as a pawn by the enemies of this republic and your liberties,” the note read.

Facing more than a decade in prison apparently isn’t enough to keep the Florida man from dreaming big.

In November 2022, the delusional soon-to-be inmate threw his hat in the political ring and ran for state representative against Democratic opponent Michele Rayner.

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He lost.

The former Green Beret maintains the Oath Keepers were only at the Capitol to provide security for the “Stop the Steal” rally.

“[Oath Keepers] went in after it started. So then how could they have planned the whole thing?” Brown said. “Especially when [I was staying with my] protectee and told them don’t go in there. That’s not your job. That’s not what you’re here to do,” Brown said, according to WFLA.

Brown’s sentencing is scheduled for March 13, 2023, with Judge Susan C. Bucklew presiding.

Original reporting by Mitch Perry at Florida Phoenix.

Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick

Ty Ross

News journalist for Washington Press and Occupy Democrats.

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