An alleged Oath Keepers leader who is facing charges related to the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol has complained that he “can’t even try to defend” himself following the disbarment of his lawyer.
U.S. District Court Judge Amit Mehta reportedly urged Kelly Meggs, described as “the head of the Florida chapter of the Oath Keepers” in a court filing, to find a new lawyer during a remote hearing on Friday. Meggs complained of difficulties in searching for a lawyer while in jail after Mehta stressed that his attorney Jonathan Moseley would not be able to represent him due to his recent disbarment.
“Under the rules of this court, when a lawyer is disciplined in the manner your counsel has been, [the court] is required to issue an order of temporary suspension,” Mehta told Meggs during the hearing, according to Law & Crime.
“Even if I said I want to hire someone today, I can’t call them,” Meggs responded. “I can’t even try to defend myself at this point.”
The judge reportedly told Meggs that he would help to facilitate his contact with lawyers that might replace Moseley. A new status hearing was scheduled to take place in two weeks.
Meggs is one of 11 alleged members of the Oath Keepers, a far-right militia group, who are facing charges of seditious conspiracy, destruction of government property and obstruction related to the January 6 riot. He has pleaded not guilty. Meggs’ wife Connie Meggs is also facing charges related to the Capitol attack, in a case being tried separately.
Moseley was disbarred in Virginia due to Prince William County Circuit Court ordering that his law license be revoked last week. A summary of allegations against Moseley, posted online by the Virginia State Bar, include “misconduct,” “violating professional rules,” the “unauthorized practice of law” and other “disciplinary matters.”
Although Meggs is being tried in Washington, D.C., Moseley’s disbarment in Virginia effectively blocks him from working on the case because the bar of the D.C. federal court requires lawyers to hold membership with another state bar.
When contacted by Newsweek, Moseley said that the “focus should be on my client, not me,” adding that “there is so much news about the giant holes in the prosecution’s case that the news media should be covering before they worry about me as the attorney.”
“I think the only comment that I think is in his interest is ‘calling all lawyers’ — we have been having trouble finding attorneys who are willing to help with these January 6 criminal defendants and corresponding civil lawsuits and appearances before the U.S. House of Representatives January 6 Select Committee,” Moseley said via email.
Moseley said that Meggs would need to find another attorney but stressed that the task would be “hard” to accomplish while he is in custody. He argued that “Judge Mehta should order Kelly Meggs released so that he will be able to search for a new attorney” and examine evidence gathered by the government.
On Thursday, Moseley filed a motion to immediately release Meggs ahead of his trial. In a supporting memorandum, Moseley wrote that “the government has failed to prove, by clear and convincing evidence, that Kelly Meggs poses a dangerous threat to his community.”
Moseley is appealing his disbarment. It was unclear whether Meggs had contacted a new lawyer as of Friday evening.