WASHINGTON, July 2 (Reuters) – Federal prosecutors are discussing possible plea negotiations with at least 12 of the 16 defendants in the U.S. Capitol riot accused of links to the far-right movement Oath Keepers, a lawyer said on Friday government in court.
Three people described as Oath Keeper defendants have already pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with investigators. Prosecutor Kathryn Rakoczy, at a hearing to discuss the state of affairs, told Judge Amit Mehta that it is likely that more Oath Keepers would plead guilty.
Five people died, including a United States Capitol Police officer, when supporters of then-President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol on January 6 in an attempt to prevent official certification of Joe Biden as the winner of the elections last November.
The Oath Keepers focus on recruiting current and former military, law enforcement and emergency service personnel and the Southern Poverty Law Center identifies it as “one of the largest radical anti-government groups” in the USA.
While most of the defendants accused of links to Oath Keeper have been released on bail, at least three remain in pre-trial detention. Lawyers and Mehta have indicated that at least some of Oath Keeper’s pending cases may ultimately go to trial.
In a separate federal court hearing in Washington on Friday, a San Antonio man pleaded guilty to a single riot-related charge.
Matthew Carl Mazzocco, 37, of San Antonio, Texas, pleaded guilty to violent driving on the grounds of the United States Capitol. A court document describes Mazzocco as a mortgage loan officer for CMG Financial and says he posted photos of himself on Facebook at the United States Capitol with the caption: “The Capital [sic] Is ours! “
A spokesperson for CMG Financial said in a statement that Mazzocco “was not an employee of CMG Financial as of January 2021 and had not been an employee of CMG for several months at that time.”
Reporting by Mark Hosenball and Jan Wolfe; edited by Grant McCool
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