Defendant Admits to Obstructing Congressional Proceeding
WASHINGTON – Caleb Berry, 20 of Tampa, Fla., an affiliate of the Oath Keepers, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy and to breaching the U.S. Capitol for the purpose of obstructing Congress’ certification of the electoral college on Jan. 6. The guilty plea was announced by Acting U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips and Acting Assistant Attorney General Mark J. Lesko of the National Security Division.
Berry pled guilty to a criminal information charging him with one count of conspiracy and one count of obstruction of an official proceeding. He faces a statutory maximum of five years in prison on the conspiracy charge and up to 20 years on the obstruction charge, as well as a period of supervised release. As part of a plea agreement, Berry has agreed to cooperate with the Government’s ongoing investigation of the Jan. 6 Capitol breach. The Honorable Amit P. Mehta, who accepted Berry’s guilty plea, scheduled a status hearing for Sept. 21, 2021, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
According to court papers filed today, between Jan. 4 and Jan. 5, 2021, Berry traveled from Florida to Washington, D.C. with some of his co-conspirators, who were members of the Oath Keepers, to attend events on Jan. 6. Berry admitted that, prior to arriving in Washington, they discussed plans for what they would be doing in Washington on Jan. 6 and the need to bring firearms for these events. On Jan. 6, while wearing an Oath Keepers shirt and hat, Berry met up with some of his co-conspirators at an event near the White House and then went to the Capitol, where they entered the restricted grounds of the U.S. Capitol at approximately 2:28 p.m.
According to the court papers, they joined on the east side of the Capitol in a stack formation, with each co-conspirator keeping a hand on the shoulder of the person in front. Approximately 10 minutes later, Berry and some of his co-conspirators were on the plaza outside the east Rotunda doors, where some of them pushed against U.S. Capitol Police officers and the Rotunda doors to force them open and gain entry into the U.S. Capitol building. Berry and some of his co-conspirators went inside. Berry admitted that he did so for the purpose of trying to stop Congress’ certification of the electoral college vote by intimidating and coercing government personnel participating in the Congressional proceeding. Berry also admitted that, the day after breaching the Capitol, on Jan. 7, he deleted data on his cell phone, including encrypted communications with some of his co-conspirators.
This case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Department of Justice National Security Division. It is being investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office with assistance from the Tampa Field Office.
In the more than 180 days since Jan. 6, more than 535 individuals have been arrested on charges related to the Jan. 6 Capitol breach, including over 165 individuals charged with assaulting, resisting, or impeding law enforcement. The investigation remains ongoing.
Anyone with tips can call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or visit tips.fbi.gov.