On Wednesday, Englewood resident and member of the Oath Keepers Graydon Young, 54, pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges against him for his involvement in the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol invasion.
In a hearing, Young, pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy and obstruction of an official proceeding, — both are felonies. The second charge calls for up to 20 years in prison. However, U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta said federal sentencing guidelines call for Young to serve between 5 1/4 years and 6 1/2 years behind bars. Prosecutors could ask for even less time in exchange for his cooperation against other defendants.
Young, who went by the call name"GenXPatriot," also agreed to cooperate. Young was one of 15 other right wing Oath Keepers militia members arrested after the attack on the Capitol. Young's cooperation includes his testimony before a grand jury and at trial. He will also have to give interviews to law enforcement personnel, according to court documents.
The conspiracy the FBI investigated showed the Oath Keeper's "extensive planning and preparation" to invade the Capital. Prosecutors showed evidence of Oath Keepers with weapons at hotels not far from the Capitol and coordinating their movements to attack Congress.
During the hearing, prosecutors dropped charges against Young including aiding and abetting and for deleting his Facebook account on January 8 to destroy evidence.
On Jan. 6, Young and his sister Laura Steele, met up with Jessica Watkins a former Army Ranger and veteran of the war in Afghanistan, met up with Oath Keepers including Kelly Meggs, 52, and his wife Connie Meggs, 59. Kelly is the self-described leader of the Florida chapter of the Oath Keepers, court documents show. The group was photographed and videotaped in a "military-style 'stack' formation" that marched up the center steps on the east side of the U.S. Capitol, breached the door at the top, and then stormed the building," according to a report from the U.S. Department of Justice.
Young, a U.S. military veteran, joined the Oath Keepers late last year and then recruited members on Facebook in December. He pushed for his sister Laura Steele of North Carolina to get into the group — made up of largely ex-military and law enforcement members who organized paramilitary training and attendance at political events. By January, Steele was in.
Court records show, Young reached out to a company that does firearms and combat training about a rifle class for four people, according to the indictment.
The FBI said Young and other Oath Keepers wore helmets and tactical vests as part of the military-style "stack" caught on camera marching through the crowd before entering the Capitol building.
He is the first to plead guilty plea in to major conspiracy charges brought against members of the Oath Keepers, according to the Department of Justice.
As part of his plea agreement, Young agreed to pay $2,000 in restitution. The judge said the Capitol rioters caused $1.5 million in damages.
Young was originally arrested in Tampa, in February and turned over to US Marshals. He was charged with six crimes, which included conspiracy and aiding and abetting the obstruction of the congressional proceeding.
While in jail, an attorney fought for Young's release citing he wasn't a flight risk before his trail. Attorney Robert D. Foley wrote Young has "a strong character" is a "business owner and active member of his community." Foley said Young was suffering mentally and wanted to return to his Englewood home with his family. He was later released on house arrest and ordered not to speak to his sister or any other Oath Keepers and to stay away from a computer.
In court during a recent hearing, ringleader Jessica Watkins denounced the group saying her "fellow Oath Keepers" turned her stomach against it. "Which is why I'm canceling my Oath Keeper membership."
Four others — a Tennessee man, Maryland man and a Virginia couple — pleaded guilty to only misdemeanor charges in the last two weeks. Judges scheduled hearings for at least three other people to plead guilty to riot-related charges.
Young's co-defendants in the conspiracy case are contesting the conspiracy charges brought against them. Prosecutors brought similar conspiracy charges against members of the Proud Boys, another far-right extremist group who fought with Capitol police outside and inside the building.
Nearly 500 people have been charged in the insurrection where a pro-Trump mob sought to disrupt the certification of Biden’s victory.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.