June 11 (UPI) -- Federal prosecutors have charged six California men linked to the Three Percenters militia movement with conspiring to attack the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
The eight-count indictment unsealed Thursday in a federal court in Washington, D.C., charges former La Habra police chief Alan Hostetter, 56; Russell Taylor, 40; Erik Scott Warner, 45; Felipe Antonio Martinez, 47; Derek Kinnison, 36; and Ronald Mele, 51, of conspiring since Dec. 19 to travel to the Capitol on Jan. 6 when supporters of then-President Donald Trump sieged the building to stop Congress from certifying the election win of President Joe Biden.
According to the 20-page charging document, Hostetter founded the American Phoenix Project in the spring of last year to oppose government-mandated restrictions imposed to stymie the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Hostetter with Taylor and an unnamed third person used this organization to support Trump and to protest the results to an election that they claimed was stolen or fraudulent, prosecutors said.
Following the election in November, Hostetter used his organization "as a platform to advocate violence" against those who supported the results of last year's presidential election, the indictment said, highlighting a video he posted to the project's YouTube page that month calling for the execution of "some people at the highest levels."
"Because when you commit treason against this country and you disenfranchise the voters of this country and you take away their ability to make decisions for themselves, you strip them of their Constitution rights. That's not hyperbole when you call it tyranny," he said in the video, according to the court document. "And tyrants and traitors need to be executed as an example."
Days before the attack, Taylor is accused of creating a group on the encrypted messaging service Telegram called The California Patriots-DC Brigade for the six members to plan their trip to the Capitol.
"This thread is exclusive to be utilized to organize a group of fighters to have each other's backs and ensure that no one will trample on our rights," Taylor wrote in the group. "I am assuming that you have some type of weaponry that you are bringing with you and plates as well."
According to prosecutors, it was while introducing themselves to the other members of the group chat that Kinnison attached a photo of himself with Martinez and Warner and said they were all members of the militia movement the Three Percenters.
The Anti-Defamation League said on its website that the anti-government extremist group the Three Percenters was created in 2008 on the inaccurate claim that only 3% of Americans fought the British during the Revolutionary War. the anti-hate group said the Three Percenters support the idea of a small band of so-called patriots protecting Americans from government tyranny.
The indictment accuses the six men of participating in the storming of the Capitol building on Jan. 6 and documenting it online and in their group chat with Taylor sending text messages to several people stating he had "stormed the capital."
Some 500 people have been charged in connection to the Capitol siege that resulted in five deaths and more than 100 police officers injured.
Prosecutors have previously brought similar conspiracy charges against members of the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, extremists anti-government groups similar to the Three Percenters.