An Alabama man and member of the Oath Keepers — a large but loosely organized collection of individuals, some of whom are affiliated with militias — was arrested today for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, which disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress that was in the process of ascertaining and counting the electoral votes related to the presidential election.
Mark Grods, 54, of Mobile, is charged with federal offenses that include conspiracy and obstruction of an official proceeding and aiding and abetting. Grods entered his guilty plea in the District of Columbia on June 30.
According to court documents, Grods and others in the conspiracy agreed to plan and participate in an operation to interfere with the certification of the electoral college vote on Jan. 6 by coordinating with others in advance, using websites and social media to recruit other participants, and traveling to Washington, D.C. According to his plea, Grods joined an invitation-only encrypted Signal group message titled “DC OP: Jan 6 21” and participated in a four-person online meeting titled “SE leaders dc 1/6/21 op call.” On Jan. 4, Grods traveled with others to Washington and brought firearms, and eventually provided them to another individual to store in a Virginia hotel.
On Jan. 6, Grods rode with others in a pair of golf carts toward the Capitol, at times swerving around law enforcement vehicles, before parking and continuing toward the Capitol. While walking through the restricted area and toward the Capitol building, Grods moved with others together in a military “stack” formation with hands on the shoulders of those in front of them to communicate and effectively move toward the Capitol. At 3:21 p.m., Grods entered through the east Rotunda doors while carrying a large stick. At 3:25 p.m., Grods exited the Capitol as law enforcement officers deployed pepper balls at a wall near Grods.
The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Department of Justice National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section. Valuable assistance was provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Alabama and Southern District of Alabama.
The case is being investigated by the FBI’s Washington and Mobile Field Offices.
In the more than 150 days since Jan. 6, approximately 465 individuals have been arrested on charges related to the Jan. 6 Capitol breach, including over 130 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement. The investigation remains ongoing.
Anyone with tips can call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or visit tips.fbi.gov.
The charges contained in any criminal complaint or indictment are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.