June 27, 2022

Indiana Oath Keeper member indicted on Capitol riot charges

FILE - Insurrectionists loyal to President Donald Trump breach the Capitol in Washington, Jan. 6, 2021.  - AP Photo/John Minchillo, File

FILE - Insurrectionists loyal to President Donald Trump breach the Capitol in Washington, Jan. 6, 2021.

AP Photo/John Minchillo, File

A federal grand jury in Washington, D.C., has indicted an Indianapolis member of the far-right Oath Keepers militia group with conspiracy and other charges for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol.

The indictment unsealed Friday charges Michael Greene, 39, with conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of an official proceeding, conspiracy to prevent an officer from discharging any duties, entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds and tampering with documents or proceedings, prosecutors said.

Greene was arrested in Indiana on Thursday. He was expected to make his initial court appearance later Friday.

Greene, also known as Michael Simmons, was named in a superseding indictment returned Wednesday that also includes seven previously charged defendants from Ohio, Florida and North Carolina. All have pleaded not guilty.

NPR SPECIAL SERIES: House Jan. 6 committee hearings

The indictment said Greene, who also used the monikers “Whip” and “Whiplash,” participated in an online meeting on Nov. 9, 2020, in which Oath Keeper founder Elmer Stewart Rhodes III, 57, of Granbury, Texas, outlined a plan to stop the lawful transfer of presidential power. Greene later was chosen by Rhodes to be an operations leader for activities on Jan. 6, and over the preceding five days; and Greene and others transported firearms, ammunition and related items to the Washington area, the indictment said.

On Jan. 6, Greene and Rhodes left a Virginia hotel and drove to the Capitol area. At 1:42 p.m., Greene sent a text message to an acquaintance saying, “Storming the capital,” along with a photograph that depicted the advancing mob on the west side of the Capitol grounds. At about 3:09 p.m., Greene texted an acquaintance: “Congress evacuated,” the indictment said.

After teams of other Oath Keepers entered and exited the Capitol, Greene and Rhodes met them in a plaza outside the building. The indictment alleges that sometime on or after Jan. 6, Greene deleted from his cellphone certain media, files, and communications that showed his involvement in the activities.

At least 11 other people with Indiana ties have been arrested and charged in connection with the riot.

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