Defense Seeks Remote Deposition of Oath Keepers Expert on Group’s Longstanding Role Providing Security

Joseph M. Hanneman
By Joseph M. Hanneman
October 3, 2022US News
Defense Seeks Remote Deposition of Oath Keepers Expert on Group’s Longstanding Role Providing Security
Sixteen Capitol Police officers are led down the east steps of the Capitol by members of the Oath Keepers on Jan. 6. (Courtesy of Roberto Minuta)

Defense attorneys want to depose a retired U.S. Army colonel and test pilot—among the longest serving members of the Oath Keepers—regarding the group’s long-standing role in providing security at events, civil disturbances, and natural disasters.

Retired Col. John Siemens, 76, would provide exculpatory testimony benefitting the five defendants in the Oath Keepers seditious-conspiracy trial, but cannot come to Washington due to seriously declining health, attorneys said.

Two attorneys for Oath Keepers defendant Kelly Meggs petitioned U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta for permission to take a deposition from Siemens in Texas, where he is convalescing after suffering two strokes and two heart attacks.

Mehta took the motion under advisement on Oct. 3, the day of opening arguments in the trial that is expected to last into early November.

NTD Photo
A member of the Oath Keepers with Natalie DuBose, owner of Natalie’s Cakes and More, one of the businesses guarded by the Oath Keepers in Ferguson, Mo., in 2014. (Wayback Machine/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)

The motion describes Siemens as the “most important organizer for many Oathkeeper [sic] operations and events,” yet prosecutors did not contact him or take his statement.

Siemens joined the Oath Keepers in 2015 and has served as acting president since the January 2022 arrest of founder Elmer Stewart Rhodes III. He is a senior vice president for the Oath Keepers, according to court records.

“… Nowhere in the operative indictment does the government acknowledge that the Oath Keepers, including Mr Meggs, had provided security services at numerous events, including for Roger Stone in Florida, at protests surrounding the death of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky, and in Washington D.C.,” the motion said.

Siemens was a participant on a Nov. 9, 2020, GoTo Meeting teleconference that was allegedly the start of the Oath Keepers conspiracy to attack the U.S. Capitol on Ja

n. 6, the document said.

He was also a participant in numerous Oath Keepers encrypted chat sessions using the computer app “Signal,” the motion said. Siemens has not been charged in the Capitol unrest.

“The government does not otherwise appear to have made contact with Mr Siemens or obtained any information concerning his role with the Oath Keepers,” wrote Stanley Woodward, an attorney for Meggs.

Siemens can provide “significant background” on security provided by the Oath Keepers going back to 2017, the motion said.

“Siemens can testify that between October 2019 and November 2019, the Oath Keepers were recruited to assist with security details for Trump rallies in Texas and Mississippi,” Woodward wrote.

“Further, Mr Siemens can testify that, because of the Oath Keepers’ reputation for providing a competent security detail, beginning in [sic] May 9, 2020, Mr Siemens repeatedly provided the security detail for Allen West, then-chairman of the Republican Party of Texas.”

The Oath Keepers say their purpose in Washington on Jan. 6 was to provide event security and escort VIPs between President Donald Trump’s speech at the Ellipse and the venues where they were scheduled to speak.

Prosecutors allege the Oath Keepers conspired to prevent—by force if necessary— the certification of the 2020 presidential election results by a joint session of Congress.

They contend a cache of weapons brought to the area by Oath Keepers and stored at a Virginia hotel were to be used in attacking the Capitol.

The Oath Keepers say the weapons were there in case Trump invoked the Insurrection Act and called up a militia to defend the White House against a threatened attack by Antifa. The Oath Keepers’ Quick Reaction Forces (QRFs) were intended to help rescue and extract VIPs or other Oath Keepers if there was significant trouble at any of the events.

Oath Keepers was founded in early 2009 by Rhodes, a former U.S. Army paratrooper and onetime aide to U.S. Rep. Ron Paul.

The group is intended for anyone who took an oath—such as military, law enforcement, and first responders—to defend the Constitution from “all enemies, foreign and domestic.”

NTD Photo
The Oath Keepers website advertised the group’s mission to Washington days before Jan. 6, 2021. (Wayback Machine/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)

Oath Keepers served as a volunteer security force in the wake of 2014 rioting in and around Ferguson, Missouri. The area experienced violence and arson after the death of a black man, Michael Brown, by Darren Wilson, a white police officer.

Oath Keepers came from around the country to protect small businesses from rioters and looters. One of them was Natalie’s Cakes and More, a bakery owned by Natalie DuBose that was vandalized by rioters. Oath Keepers guarded that and other storefronts, and had armed members on the rooftops.

The failure to depose Siemens was one of the reasons Rhodes sought to fire his two Texas-based attorneys three weeks before the trial.

Judge Mehta would not allow it, but approved Rhodes’ new attorney, Edward Tarpley, as co-counsel.

Siemens’s testimony “will corroborate the assertion that the Oath Keepers have long served to provide security services as well as disaster relief, including having provided security for rallies in Ferguson, Missouri and Louisville, Kentucky; assistance with border patrol operations; engagement with local law enforcement as community liaisons, as well as hurricane and disaster relief in Houston and Puerto Rico,” Woodward wrote.

His testimony “would undermine the government’s assertion that the Oath Keepers had no lawful purpose for being in Washington D.C.; that the Oath Keepers organization is a violent, anti-government organization; and establish the Oath Keepers organization’s prior lawful involvement as security detail for Trump presidential campaigning events and other similar rallies,” the motion said.

Siemens, who lives near San Antonio, is a graduate of the Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base and earned a diploma from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. He served as a defense contractor test pilot and was a test pilot for Cessna for nearly three decades.

From The Epoch Times

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