1/6 Rioter Thomas Caldwell, Who Used to Work for FBI, Told Crowd to ‘Hang the Traitors’: DOJ

A January 6 rioter who used to work for the FBI allegedly incited the crowd by telling them to “hang the traitors,” according to court filings released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).

Thomas Caldwell, 65, of Virginia, is facing felony conspiracy and obstruction charges for his role in the riot at the U.S. Capitol. Caldwell is a member of the far-right, anti-government group the Oath Keepers and is considered by some to have been one of the attack’s leaders at the Capitol that day.

Caldwell is reportedly known as “Commander Tom” to other members of the Oath Keepers. A former Navy officer, Caldwell is also a former FBI employee and at one point had “top secret” level security clearance.

DOJ filings revealed previously unknown details regarding Caldwell’s behavior on January 6, including alleged statements that he made describing his actions during the riot. While the DOJ did not state who these statements were for, they were reportedly sent by Caldwell electronically.

January 6 Noose
Thomas Caldwell, one of the rioters at the January 6 riot, allegedly prompted the others to “hang the traitors” as the crowd stormed the U.S. Capitol building in an attempt to de-certify the results of the 2020 presidential election. Here, a makeshift gallows can be seen set up by the rioters during the attack.
Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Getty

“Then we heard [former Vice President] Pence f****d us. Wr [sic] had over a million oeople [sic] here…so I grabbed up my American flag and said let’s take the damn capitol,” one of Caldwell’s alleged statements read. “So people started surging forward and climbing the scaffolding outside so I said lets [sic] storm the place and hang the traitors.”

“Everybody thought that was a good idea so we did,” Caldwell continued.

“The people in front of me broke through the doors and started duking it out with the pigs who broke and ran,” it continued. “Then we started stealing the cops riot shields a d [sic] throwing fire extinguishers through windows. It was a great time.”

A previous court filing stated that Caldwell had attempted to buy a disguised shotgun in the months prior to the insurrection. He also reportedly discussed where to stay in Washington D.C. during the attack, telling another Oath Keeper that “this is a good location and would allow us to hunt at night if we wanted to” in regards to a nearby hotel.

However, despite the DOJ’s evidence against him, both Caldwell and his defense team continue to maintain his innocence. His attorney, David Fischer, told Newsweek in March that Caldwell “is adamant that he’s innocent.”

The defense has stated that Caldwell was allegedly unable to participate in the insurrection to his physical limitations. Fischer referred to his client as an “old cripple” who was using an American flag as a crutch during the attack.

Caldwell is reportedly considered disabled and has had multiple surgeries on his spine.

While Caldwell did admit to being at the Capitol that day and urging the rioters on with the phrase “let’s go. Patriots forward!”, his attorneys argued that he could not be held responsible for the entirety of the Oath Keepers’ actions.

An additional statement from the DOJ revealed that Caldwell claimed he had sat down outside because his “back was killing me.” He further added that he was unable to get onto the steps of the Capitol building because of the lack of railings.

Caldwell was released on bond in March due to his health issues and is currently on house arrest at his Virginia home.

Newsweek has reached out to attorney David Fischer for comment.

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