WASHINGTON — A member of the Oath Keepers who brought an AR-15 to a Virginia hotel on the eve of Jan. 6 described entering a room filled with a large stash of weapons in a seditious conspiracy trial on Wednesday.
The Oath Keeper, Terry Cummings, testified that there were “a lot of firearms cases” in the hotel room when he dropped off his weapon at the Comfort Inn in Arlington, Virginia, on Jan. 5, 2021.
“I had not seen that many weapons in one location since I was in the military,” Cummings said.
Prosecutors allege that the stockpile — which they have called a “quick reaction force” or “QRF” — had been staged as part of a plan to oppose the peaceful transfer of power.
Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes is on trial for seditious conspiracy alongside four other Oath Keeper associates: Kelly Meggs, Kenneth Harrelson, Jessica Watkins and Thomas Caldwell. Other members of the alleged conspiracy will go on trial in November.
Rhodes had urged former President Donald Trump to invoke the Insurrection Act and called upon members of the Oath Keepers to help stop the peaceful transfer of power.
After Jan. 6, Rhodes said he regretted not bringing weapons into D.C. on the day of the riot, federal prosecutors said. Another Oath Keeper previously told the court that Rhodes tried unsuccessfully to reach Trump on the night of Jan. 6.
Cummings, a veteran of the Air National Guard who testified under a subpoena, said that he did not hear any talk about storming the Capitol, and he believed that he would only use his weapon in a defense measure. He said he was aware of the strict gun laws in Washington, D.C., and saw no Oath Keepers carrying guns in the city on the day of the riot.
Cummings, who claims he joined the Oath Keepers in 2020 because he was concerned about riots happening around the country and “attacks by Antifa,” said he decided to go to D.C. on Jan. 6 because “it was an opportunity” to express his First Amendment rights.
“I personally didn’t think it was a good idea to enter,” he said.
Cummings recalled that he started his day on Jan. 6 providing security for unnamed VIPs at the Trump rally at the Ellipse, which preceded the riot. He said he and other members of the Oath Keepers had VIP passes to the rally and had to go through Secret Service security lines to get around 20 yards away from the stage.
John Zimmerman, a former member of the Oath Keepers, testified last week that Rhodes had told him he had a contact in the Secret Service and that he heard Rhodes speaking with someone he believed to be a Secret Service agent a few months before the Capitol riot.
Cummings testified that he and some other Oath Keepers left the rally before Trump finished speaking because they were called to escort an unnamed Hispanic female VIP towards the Capitol. While the group of roughly 10 people were escorting the woman, Cummings said he heard from Meggs that the Capitol had been breached, and the group decided to leave the woman with an Oath Keeper guard and proceeded to the Capitol.
After they arrived on Capitol grounds, Cummings said he had to use the bathroom and became separated from the group. He said that he later learned after he met back up with the group that they had entered the Capitol building during the time they were separated.
Under cross examination, Cummings said multiple times that he never heard of any plans for the Oath Keepers to enter the Capitol. “There were no conversations concerning storming the Capitol,” he said.
He also testified that he had contributed to online donation accounts for both Harrelson and Meggs.