DOJ investigating payments from Trump-affiliated organization to attorneys defending Oath KeepersJune 22, 2022
The court filing names Oath Keeper leader Stewart Rhodes, who’s been accused of engaging in a seditious conspiracy against the U.S., and members Kelly Meggs, Connie Meggs, and Kenneth Harrelson, according to Reuters.
If the payments to the Oath Keeper attorneys did in fact come from Defending the Republic, prosecutors wrote, it would violate professional conduct rules of payment to lawyers in the District of Columbia.
The Southern Poverty Law Center writes that the Oath Keepers claim tens of thousands of law enforcement and military veterans as members, and is “one of the largest far-right anti-government groups in the U.S. today.”
The Post reports that the filing also asks the judge to make sure that there’s “no interference with the lawyer’s independence … or with the client-lawyer relationship” on the part of Powell’s group.
Rhodes and the Oath Keepers have September 2022 and April 2023 trial dates and face charges of seditious conspiracy and other felonies related to their roles in the Jan. 6 insurrection.
Dominion Voting Systems filed a defamation suit against Powell for spreading “wild” and “demonstrably false” allegations, the Post reported in January 2021.
As for Wednesday’s filing, prosecutors wrote, “The government is filing this motion because it has an interest and an obligation to ensure it represents its client, the United States. … Those duties include raising potential conflicts with the Court as they arise.”
Although Powell has refused to cooperate with the House select committee investigating Jan. 6, Reuters reports that Defending the Republic was subpoenaed by the grand jury seeking its financial records.