NATIONAL NEWS

4 California men linked to Three Percenters militia convicted of conspiracy in Jan. 6 case

Nov 8, 2023, 10:23 AM | Updated: 11:54 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — Four California men linked to the “Three Percenters” militia movement have been convicted charges including conspiracy and obstruction for their roles in the Jan. 6, 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

Erik Scott Warner, 48, of Menifee,; Felipe Antonio Martinez, 50, of Lake Elsinore,; Derek Kinnison, 42, of Lake Elsinore,; and Ronald Mele, 54, of Temecula, were found guilty on Tuesday after a trial in Washington’s federal court, according to prosecutors.

They were convicted of conspiracy and obstruction of an official proceeding — the joint session of Congress in which lawmakers met to certify President Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 election.

Attorneys for Martinez and Warner declined to comment, and emails seeking comment were sent to an attorney for Mele.

Kinnison’s lawyer, Nicolai Cocis, said he is disappointed with the verdict and they are considering all available legal options.

“Mr. Kinnison is a patriotic citizen who wanted to show his support for President Trump, who he believed was the rightful winner of the 2020 election. He regrets his involvement in the events of January 6,” Cocis said in an email.

Prosecutors say the men were part of a Three Percenters militia in southern California. The Three Percenters militia movement refers to the myth that only 3% of Americans fought in the Revolutionary War against the British.

They were charged in 2021 alongside Alan Hostetter, a former California police chief, right-wing activist and vocal critic of COVID-19 restrictions, who was convicted in July in a separate trial. Another one of their codefendants, Russell Taylor, pleaded guilty in April to a conspiracy charge.

The four men joined a telegram chat with Hostetter and Taylor called “The California Patriots – DC Brigade” to coordinate plans for coming to Washington. Taylor posted that he created the group for “fighters” who were expected to bring “weaponry” and body armor with them to Washington on Jan. 6, according to prosecutors.

Warner, Martinez, Kinnison and Mele drove cross country together days before the riot. On Jan. 6, Warner entered the Capitol through a broken window. Meanwhile, Martinez, wearing a tactical vest, and Kinnison, who was wearing a gas mask, joined rioters on the Capitol’s Upper West Terrace, according to the indictment. Mele, who was also wearing a tactical vest, proclaimed “Storm the Capitol!” in a “selfie” style video on the stairs of the building, prosecutors say.

Warner and Kinnison, who were accused of deleting the “DC Brigade” chat from their phones after the riot, were also convicted of tampering with documents or proceedings.

22 years.

National News

Brattleboro Union High School students register to vote during a voter drive at the school, Feb. 14...

Associated Press

The future is now: 16- and 17-year-olds win the right to vote in local elections in a Vermont town

BRATTLEBORO, Vt. (AP) — A Vermont town has acted on the notion that young voters offer hope for the future, giving 16- and 17-year-olds the right to vote next week in local elections. Those who turn 18 by the November general election will be permitted to vote in the state’s presidential primaries on Super Tuesday. […]

6 minutes ago

FILE - The North Dakota Capitol tower rises in the background behind a stone sign, April 19, 2012, ...

Associated Press

AP Decision Notes: What to expect in North Dakota’s GOP caucuses

WASHINGTON (AP) — North Dakota will hold its Republican presidential caucuses on Monday, the last chance for Donald Trump’s rivals for the GOP nomination to slow his momentum heading into Super Tuesday, the biggest day of the primary campaign, when 15 states hold contests. Trump’s main opponent in North Dakota once again will be Nikki […]

42 minutes ago

Associated Press

The Latest | Gaza death toll surges over 30,000 as a strike kills and wounds scores waiting for aid

More than 30,000 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip since the start of the Israel-Hamas war nearly five months ago, health officials in the territory said as a strike on a crowd of people waiting for aid in Gaza City killed and wounded scores on Thursday. At least 70 people were killed as […]

3 hours ago

FILE - Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo listens during a House Committee on Science, Space, and Tec...

Associated Press

Biden administration to investigate national security risks posed by Chinese-made ‘smart cars’

WASHINGTON (AP) — Citing potential national security risks, the Biden administration says it will investigate Chinese-made “smart cars” that can gather sensitive information about Americans driving them. The probe could lead to new regulations aimed at preventing China from using sophisticated technology in electric cars and other so-called connected vehicles to track drivers and their […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

A shooting in Orlando has left at least 1 person dead and several injured, police say

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — At least one person is dead and several others were injured following a shooting in Orlando, Florida, police say. Orlando Police Department responded about 11 p.m. Wednesday in reference to several shots fired, WFTV reported. Officers found multiple victims, including one who died. Police have not released a possible motive for […]

5 hours ago

FILE - A map of a new proposed community in Solano County, Calif., is displayed during a news confe...

Associated Press

A billionaire-backed campaign for a new California city is off to a bumpy start

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — After two false starts, the billionaires behind a plan to build an eco-friendly city from scratch are behind schedule and off to a bumpy start to put their proposal before California voters this November. Former Goldman Sachs trader Jan Sramek unveiled his closely guarded ballot initiative for the proposed community between […]

7 hours ago

4 California men linked to Three Percenters militia convicted of conspiracy in Jan. 6 case