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More guilty pleas expected from U.S. Capitol rioters linked to Oath Keepers -prosecutor

imageWorld1 hour ago (Jul 02, 2021 05:50PM ET)

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(C) Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A mob of supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump fight with members of law enforcement at a door they broke open as they storm the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, U.S., January 6, 2021. REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo

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By Mark Hosenball and Jan Wolfe

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Federal prosecutors are discussing possible plea bargains with at least 12 of 16 defendants in the U.S. Capitol riot accused of links with the far-right Oath Keepers movement, a government lawyer said in court on Friday.

Three people described as Oath Keeper defendants have already entered guilty pleas and agreed to cooperate with investigators. Prosecutor Kathryn Rakoczy, at a hearing to discuss the status of the cases, told Judge Amit Mehta that it is likely more Oath Keepers would plead guilty.

Five people died, including a U.S. Capitol Police officer, when supporters of then-President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 to try to stop the formal certification of Joe Biden as the winner in last November’s election.

The Oath Keepers are focused on recruiting current and former military, law enforcement and emergency services personnel and the Southern Poverty Law Center identifies it as “one of the largest radical anti-government groups” in the United States.

While most defendants accused of Oath Keeper links have been released on bail, at least three remain in pre-trial custody. Lawyers and Mehta indicated that at least some of the pending Oath Keeper cases could ultimately proceed to trial.

In a separate federal court hearing in Washington on Friday, a San Antonio man pleaded guilty to a single riot-related misdemeanor charge.

Matthew Carl Mazzocco, 37, of San Antonio, Texas, pleaded guilty to a charge of violent conduct on U.S. Capitol grounds. A court document describes Mazzocco as a mortgage loan officer for CMG Financial and says he posted pictures of himself on Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) at the U.S. Capitol with the caption, “The capital (sic) is ours!”

A spokesperson for CMG Financial said in a statement that Mazzocco “was not a CMG Financial employee in January 2021 and had not been a CMG employee for several months at that time.”

More guilty pleas expected from U.S. Capitol rioters linked to Oath Keepers -prosecutor

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