Alan Hostetter was “in the middle of nowhere in Arkansas” when he hit the record button. It was late November, weeks after what the former police chief and newest Orange County yoga instructor called the 2020 election “stolen.”
Hostetter, who founded a group called the American Phoenix Project in the spring of 2020 to oppose government restrictions imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, was on his way to Washington for the “Million MAGA March” in support of the president of the United States. era, Donald Trump. . He had thoughts that he wanted to record “for posterity”.
In the dark interior of his vehicle, he gave a “little rant”. He regurgitated the baseless mass electoral fraud conspiracy theories he had read on the internet and heard from Trump, ones that law enforcement officials feared would get someone killed. The ballots are falling! Computer algorithms! It was all revealed, he said. “The masquerade is about to end,” he said, and people would end up in jail.
Then came the time for the executions.
“Some people, at the highest levels, should be seen as an example: one performance or two or three,” Hostetter told his audience. “Tyrants and traitors must be executed as an example so that no one takes back this shit.” “
The Hostetter, 56, and five other men from the Orange County area Russell Taylor, 40, Erik Warner, 45, Felipe Martinez, 47, Derek Kinnison, 39, and Ronald Mele, 51 – were accused of having made a conspiracy. to “obstruct, influence and corruptly obstruct the process of Congress at the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021”.
The 20-page indictment is the first conspiracy indictment involving multiple defendants who the government says are affiliated with the Three Percent, the right-wing group that takes its name from the (false) belief that only three percent of colonialists opposed the British during the American Revolution.
The indictment alleges that, along with about 30 others, the men coordinated their actions in a Telegram conversation that Taylor created and called “The California Patriots-DC Brigade,” aimed at “able-bodied people” who turned up. returned to DC on January 6.
“Many of us have never met before and we are all ready and willing to fight,” Taylor wrote in the description, federal officials said. “We will meet for this time when we are called. “
In a message to the group, Taylor wrote that they wanted to “be on the front steps and be one of the first to walk through the doors!”
The indictment of the men was unsealed five months after the attack on the Capitol on January 6. Federal authorities are getting closer to 500 arrests in connection with the insurgency; 300 more suspects have their photos featured on the FBI’s Capitol Research page, and there are countless other strong cases against Capitol suspects in the FBI database containing hundreds of thousands of tips received from the Capitol. public.
Authorities estimated that around 2,000 people were involved in the Capitol violation. New federal charges continue to flow almost daily, and many more arrests are underway.
Hostetter and Taylor weren’t exactly incognito, and they gained media attention in the weeks following the attack. Radley Balko of the Washington Post reported on Hostetter and his past in January, and days later, David Corn of Mother Jones reported on Hostetter’s call for the execution of Trump’s enemies at a rally in California on December 12. But the new indictment ends an even larger team of California “patriots” who planned their attack on the United States Capitol in advance.
The indictment is good news for some of the online investigators who have been stalking the Hostetter team for months, even before the Capitol riot.
Katie, a woman from California who was part of a small group following the US Project Phoenix before the attack, began digging through footage from January 6 when Taylor appeared in the background of a Simone Gold video , another accused of January 6. California.
Gold, like the latest group of Californian defendants, operated in the same staunch pro-Trump circles as Daniel Rodriguez, who shocked DC cop Mike Fanone in the attack on Capitol Hill. Rodriguez partnered with the Three Percent and attended right-wing events in Huntington Beach, where Hostetter gave a speech suggesting that Trump’s enemies be executed. The HuffPost reported on Rodriguez’s identity in late February and he was arrested in late March.
Katie told HuffPost that she had descended into the rabbit hole and started working to find all possible images of the group members on January 6. While the indictment doesn’t directly cite the work of Katie’s Twitter group, it appears to be based on their results.
What the indictment does not mention is this: As Twitter users recounted his actions, Hostetter wrote them strange and threatening tweets. “I know your name,” he wrote in a February Twitter response to a Twitter investigator who wrote that they “would love to discuss someday” how the Hostetter crew carried bags and weapons at the Capitol.
“We’ll talk soon enough, trust me,” Hostetter replied. “My team is focusing,” he wrote in another tweet to Katie. “Just wait until the script is reversed.”
Katie said it was important to bring up the group’s actions, even though it caused some stress.
“We did it because the audience needed to know,” Katie said before joking, “I’ve always been curious by nature, but I never thought it would lead to this.”
On the eve of the Capitol Attack, Taylor spoke at a Virginia Women for Trump rally at the United States Capitol as part of a US Project Phoenix panel. He called himself a “free American” and said he would “fight” and “bleed” before allowing freedom to be taken.
“These anti-Americans made the fatal mistake,” Taylor said. “They brought out the fury of the patriots in these streets and they did it without knowing that we will not return to our peaceful way of life until this election is corrected, our freedoms will not be restored and America preserved. “
The next day, according to the indictment, the men held firm on their rhetoric. Warner entered the building through a broken window. Taylor and Hostetter joined the crowd as they crossed the police line, Taylor warning officers that this was their “last chance” to “back off.”
Martinez and Kinnison also took to the Capitol’s Upper West Terrace, while Mele shot a selfie video.
“We stormed the Capitol,” Mele said.
Taylor then bragged about his exploits in the Telegram chat. “I pushed through traitors all day today. WE HAVE TAKEN THE STORM IN THE CAPITOLE! Freedom has been fully demonstrated today!
On Instagram, Hostetter called the attack a “gunshot heard around the world” and “the 2021 version of 1776.” He noted that the war lasted eight years. “We’re just getting started,” he wrote.
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