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News / Nation & World

New Jersey Oath Keeper who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 pleads guilty to felony charge

By ALANNA DURKIN RICHER, Associated Press
Published: June 6, 2023, 11:19am

A member of the Oath Keepers extremist group from New Jersey who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and bragged about it in text messages pleaded guilty on Tuesday to obstructing Congress.

James Breheny, who is also known as Seamus Evers, of Little Ferry, pleaded guilty in Washington’s federal court to a felony charge of obstructing Congress’ certification of President Joe Biden’s electoral victory over former President Donald Trump.

Breheny’s attorney said his client, a Navy veteran, entered the guilty plea to “make amends for a lack of good judgement on Jan. 6, 2021.”

“His history as a veteran and a law-abiding citizen is clearly more indicative of who he is then his entering the Capitol and taking a photo of himself and leaving,” defense attorney Harley Breite said.

Breheny was not charged with conspiring with other members of the far-right group, including its founder Stewart Rhodes.

In one of the most serious cases brought by the Justice Department, Rhodes and five other Oath Keepers were convicted of seditious conspiracy for what prosecutors say was a weekslong plot to stop the transfer of presidential power. Additional Oath Keepers were separately convicted of conspiring to obstruct the certification of Biden’s victory.

Rhodes, of Granbury, Texas, was sentenced last month to 18 years behind bars — the longest sentence handed down so far in the hundreds of Jan. 6 cases.

Court papers say that on the morning of Jan. 6, Rhodes invited Breheny — who was the Bergen County coordinator for the Oath Keepers’ New Jersey chapter — to a signal chat with other members titled “DC OP: Jan 6 21.” Breheny didn’t send any messages in the chat, his attorney said.

Breheny entered the Capitol shortly after a group of Oath Keepers breached the building in military-style “stack” formation, according to statement of offense Breheny agreed to as part of his plea deal. After the riot, he sent several messages to others bragging about going inside the Capitol. In one message he wrote: “We breached the door Baby.”

Two days after the riot, someone warned him to delete all his pictures and messages and get a new phone. He deleted photos showing himself inside the Capitol and deleted his Facebook account, prosecutors said.

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