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Oath Keepers Founder: DC Parking Garage Meeting Was Brief Handshake, Not a Conspiracy

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Encounter lasted less than 30 seconds—not 30 minutes—with no discussion about the Capitol, Stewart Rhodes says

A parking-garage contact between Oath Keepers founder Elmer Stewart Rhodes III and former Proud Boys chairman Enrique Tarrio on Jan. 5, 2021, was nothing more than a brief handshake, not a meeting to coordinate plans for Jan. 6 at the U.S. Capitol, Rhodes said in an interview with The Epoch Times.

Federal prosecutors detailed the alleged parking-garage meeting between Rhodes and Tarrio in the March 7, 2022, indictment of Tarrio and five other Proud Boys accused of conspiracy to obstruct the counting of Electoral College votes at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

The indictment (pdf) says the Rhodes-Tarrio meeting lasted 30 minutes. It implies the meeting was related to the Jan. 6 violence that would occur the next day at the U.S. Capitol.

“During this encounter, a participant referenced the Capitol,” the indictment said, providing no other details about who made the reference or what it meant.

A Greeting, Not a Meeting

Rhodes said there was no meeting. The entire encounter consisted of a handshake greeting that lasted mere seconds.

“Now they’re blowing that up into some kind of great big conspiracy meeting,” Rhodes told The Epoch Times. “It’s just ridiculous. That’s the way it’s been from the beginning with all of this. It’s been manufactured, falsified evidence from the very beginning.”

William Miller, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, said in response to an inquiry from The Epoch Times, “Following our usual practice, we are not commenting on pending cases beyond what is stated or submitted to the Court.”

Rhodes was indicted (pdf) by a federal grand jury in January on charges of seditious conspiracy to disrupt or prevent certification of the 2020 presidential vote in Congress on Jan. 6, among a number of other charges.

Prosecutors allege Rhodes and 10 other Oath Keepers conspired to attack the U.S. Capitol and prevent certification of the Electoral College votes. He is being held without bail pending trial, which likely won’t begin before September.

Tarrio was not at

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