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New Oath Keeper defendant cooperating against others in major January 6 conspiracy case

By Katelyn Polantz, CNN

A member of the Oath Keepers has cut a plea deal with prosecutors and is testifying secretly against others in the right-wing group, according to a criminal case unsealed Wednesday in Washington, DC.

The newly public case is the latest known move by the Justice Department to prosecute the extremist group for planning the January 6 attack on Congress.

Mark Grods is set to plead guilty to two charges — conspiracy and obstruction of Congress’ certification of the electoral college.

He plans to admit to taking part in paramilitary training efforts before January 6 and recruiting people to come to DC and join together for the siege. Grods and others brought firearms, combat outfits, helmets and radio equipment for the siege, according to the charging document.

Grods also plans to admit to allegations that he stormed the Capitol with others, taking part in the military-style “stack” formation used by the Oath Keepers to cut through the crowd, while carrying a “large stick,” according to his court record.

Grods’ plea deal was filed in court confidentially on Monday and made public Wednesday morning. The secrecy would “ensure the defendant’s safety while he cooperates pursuant to his plea agreement and testifies before the grand jury,” a court filing from the Justice Department said.

Grods is set to appear before a judge in DC federal court at 2 p.m. ET Wednesday.

CNN has reached out to Grod’s lawyer for comment.

Grods stayed at the Mayflower Hotel while in DC, though he had handed off guns to another person to keep at a hotel in Virginia, his charging document says.

Prosecutors have accused several Oath Keeper defendants of coordinating what they called a “Quick Reaction Force” — by storing an arsenal across the river from DC in Virginia that could be brought in as backup if needed during the pro-Trump push to block Congress’s certification of the 2020 election results.

Grods also rode in a pair of golf carts to get to the Capitol quickly, swerving around law enforcement, during the siege, his charging document says.

Grods was not charged previously in the sprawling conspiracy case against the Oath Keepers prosecutors have aggressively pursued.

In recent weeks, the Justice Department flipped one of the conspiracy co-defendants against the Oath Keepers in a plea deal secured last week — a major step forward in the 16-defendant case — and also gained a cooperator who had long-term ties to the organization and attended the January 6 riot.

Other Oath Keepers charged in the Capitol riot cases have pleaded not guilty.

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