The guilty plea is another major step in the criminal case against the Oath Keepers, as prosecutors work to show how they believe the group of men plotted to stash weapons across the Potomac River, go to the Capitol and stop Congress’ certification of the Electoral College vote. The case has grown dramatically over the past year, relying in part on explosive private messages between Oath Keepers leaders, video of the group from the week they were in DC, and the cooperation of at least six other Capitol riot defendants with ties to the Oath Keepers organization.
“Did you do that, agree with [Oath Keepers leader Stewart] Rhodes and develop a plan to stop the lawful transfer of presidential power, by force, on January 6, 2021” US District Judge Amit Mehta asked during the hearing on Friday.
“Yes, your honor” Ulrich said.
Rhodes, who is also charged with seditious conspiracy, has pleaded not guilty.
Ulrich, who at times appeared to be crying during the hearing, also agreed that he “intended to influence and affect conduct of the United States government and to retaliate against the United States government.”
At one point, Mehta asked whether Ulrich needed time to gather himself. Ulrich initially declined, saying that “it’s not going to get any easier,” but later accepted — taking a moment to audibly weep and gasp for air.
Ulrich, who is from Georgia, was part of an Oath Keepers leadership Signal chat where he, Rhodes and others planned for January 6. The messages, which are quoted in court documents, show how Ulrich repeatedly asked about bringing guns to DC as part of a quick reaction force.
“Someone can tell me if I’m crazy but I’m planning on having a backpack for regular use and then a separate backpack with my ammo” Ulrich messaged the leadership chat in late December, adding that “I will be the guy running around with the ‘budget AR.'” In another message days later, Ulrich asked Joshua James about firearms and a potential plan to “stage them in VA.”
Ulrich, James, and Oath Keeper Mark Grods traveled together to DC on January 4. In his own plea agreement, James admitted to bringing a semi-automatic handgun on the trip, and said Ulrich, Grods, and others brought firearms, including a rifle, a shotgun, a semi-automatic handgun, and ammunition to a Virginia hotel. Grods has also pleaded guilty and is cooperating with the investigation.