WASHINGTON—A former Oath Keeper member testified on Oct. 18 that he regrets his actions during the January 6 events.

Jason Dolan, 46, from Wellington, Fla., who served in the Marines for 20 years, said he pleaded guilty to conspiring and obstructing an official proceeding to demonstrate accountability for his “naive and stupid” actions.

As part of his plea obligation, Dolan told the court he had “to testify and tell the truth” at the Oath Keepers’ trial.

Dolan testified as part of the seditious conspiracy trial against five defendants, including four members of the Oath Keepers.

Dolan does not know his sentence and risks up to six years in prison. He testified that the government didn’t make any promises to him and that he is aware that the judge will decide his sentence. He pleaded guilty in a separate case before Judge Amid Mehta, who is presiding over the Oath Keepers’ trial.

“I pled guilty because I helped plan and coordinate a trip to D.C.,” Dolan told Jeffrey Nestler, a prosecutor, “wanting to stop what I saw as an illegitimate government from taking power.”

When Dolan retired from the military, he started working as a hotel security guard. But he quit due to his upcoming hip surgery. During the second part of 2020, said Dolan, he spent time alone in his garage drinking and watching videos and news coverage about the allegedly stolen 2020 presidential election.

Dolan said he supported former president Donald Trump. At that time, he felt outraged about the election results since Trump was expected to win according to events and rallies he saw.

Dolan told the jury that he didn’t feel confident that he could accomplish anything by himself if he wanted to oppose the election results. He found out about the Florida Oath Keepers branch from a friend. Dolan told attorney Nestler that he liked the idea that the organization was formed by people with military or law enforcement backgrounds.

When Dolan joined the Oath Keepers, he said, the members weren’t happy about the 2020 presidential election results. The organization asked him to download the Signal encrypted chat app, which he had never used. In Dec. 2020, Dolan was on two or three Signal group chats. Dolan said he spent a few hours every evening on these chats, sometimes even longer.

Dolan said his wife and daughter weren’t into politics; therefore, he enjoyed being part of the Oath Keepers’ chats.

“[I] felt good to know others felt the same way I did, patriotic for our country,” he said.

The prosecutors brought Dolan’s AR rifle and pistol to the court as an exhibition for the jury. Dolan confirmed the firearms were his and that he dropped them at a hotel in Virginia on Jan. 5, 2021.

In the beginning, the Oath Keepers spoke about a potential attack from Antifa, said Dolan; if Trump had called for the Insurrection Act, “we would be fighting with pro-Trump forces against pro-Biden forces.” He said he learned this information from Signal group conversations. While Dolan knew about the Insurrection Act from historical events, he said he didn’t look into its legalities.

Dolan traveled to Virginia and D.C. with Kenneth Harrelson, a defendant on trial, and Terry Cummings, who testified last week. Cummings has not been charged.

If Trump had invoked the Insurrection Act, said Dolan, he assumed that defendants Steward Rhodes or Kelly Meggs would have instructed him to act.

“I would follow whatever orders they directed,” Dolan said.

Dolan testified that many Oath Keepers were ready to stop the electoral college votes “in one way or another.”

On January 6, Dolan and other Oath Keepers equipped with bulletproof vests, pepper spray, and other gear went to the Ellipse, where Trump gave his speech at the “Stop the Steal” rally. After that, they went to the Capitol. On their way, someone from the group was informed that the Capitol was breached.

They arrived at the left side of the Capitol, said Dolan. When he discovered that then-vice president Mike Pence didn’t stop the certification of the electoral votes, he felt that was the last opportunity Pence had to intervene.

The prosecutors showed a video, recorded by Dolan, with him and Harrelson going toward the Capitol. The U.S. Capitol Police officers were trying to stop people from getting inside, said Dolan. The crowd was chanting for the Oath Keepers while approaching Columbus’s door. “[It] felt pretty neat to be recognized. [The] crowd was overall pretty polite to us, got out of our way.”

Dolan said that Capitol police officers weren’t a target but “were an obstacle to getting inside.”

He feels regretful about what he did and is thankful that Trump didn’t invoke the Insurrection Act because that would have started a lot of violence, Dolan told the jury; he still wonders now what made him make the decisions he did.

Rhodes, Meggs, Harrelson, Jessica Watkins, and Thomas Caldwell have been charged with seditious conspiracy, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, aiding and abetting, conspiracy to prevent an officer from discharging any duties, destruction of government property, civil disorder, and tampering with documents.

If convicted, they risk 20 years behind bars.

Dolan will face cross-examination by defense lawyers when the trial continues on Oct. 19.


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