Alan Hostetter was “in the middle of nowhere in Arkansas
” when he pressed the record button in late November, a few weeks after the “stolen” 2020 election
, according to the former police
chief and more recent Orange County yoga
Hostetter, who founded the American Phoenix Project in the spring of 2020 to oppose government restrictions imposed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic
, was on his way to Washington, D.C.
, for the “Million MAGA
March” in support of then-President Donald Trump
, and had some thoughts he wanted to record “for posterity.”
He went on a "little bit of a rant" in the darkened interior of his vehicle, regurgitating the unfounded mass voter fraud conspiracy
theories he had read on the internet and heard from Trump, the ones that law
enforcement officials were concerned would get someone killed. Ballot dumps! Computer algorithms! It was all being revealed, he said.
Then the executions began.
at the highest levels need to be made an example of: an execution or two or three,” Hostetter told his audience, adding that “tyrants and traitors need to be executed as an example so that this shit never happens again.”
Alan Hostetter, a Stop the Steal
organizer, called for “an execution or two or three” in November while on his way to the Million MAGA March in D.C. He is now one of six Californians charged in this new Jan. 6 indictment: https://t.co/kI1AEnxLd5
pic.twitter.com/FtcyRrkj4o — Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly)
Hostetter, 56, and five other Orange County men, Russell Taylor, 40, Erik Warner, 45, Felipe Martinez, 47, Derek Kinnison, 39, and Ronald Mele, 51, were accused of conspiring to “corruptly obstruct, influence, and impede the Congressional proceeding at the United States
Capitol on January 6
The 20-page indictment is the first to name multiple defendants as members of the Three Percenters
, a right-wing group named after the (misguided) belief that only three percent of colonialists stood up to the British
during the American Revolution.
According to the indictment, the men coordinated their actions with about 30 others in a Telegram chat Taylor created and named "The California Patriots-DC Brigade," which was intended for "able bodied individuals" traveling to D.C. on Jan. 6.
“Many of us have never met before, and we are all ready and willing to fight,” Taylor wrote in the description, according to the feds, adding that “we will come together for this moment that we are called upon.”
Taylor stated in one message to the group that they wanted to "be on the front steps and be among the first to breach the doors
The men's indictment was unsealed five months after the Capitol attack
. Federal authorities are close to making 500 arrests in connection with the insurgency; 300 additional suspects have their photos
featured on the FBI
's Capitol wanted page; and there are an untold number of other solid cases against Capitol suspects within the FBI's database of hundreds of thousands of tips received from the public.
The feds estimated that approximately 2,000 people were involved in the Capitol breach, and new federal charges are being filed on a near-daily basis, with many more arrests planned.
Hostetter and Taylor were not exactly anonymous, and they received media
attention in the weeks following the attack. Radley Balko of The Washington Post
reported on Hostetter and his background in January, and David Corn of Mother Jones reported on Hostetter’s call for the execution of Trump’s enemies at a rally in California on December 12.
Some online investigators who had been following Hostetter's crew for months, even before the Capitol riot
, are relieved by the indictment.
Katie, a California woman who was part of a small group that tracked the American Phoenix Project before the attack, began looking through Jan. 6 footage when Taylor appeared in the background of a video of Simone Gold, another Jan. 6 defendant from California.
Gold, like the latest set of California defendants, was a member of the same fervently pro-Trump circles as Daniel Rodriguez, who electroshocked D.C. police officer Mike Fanone during the Capitol attack. Rodriguez was a member of the Three Percenters and attended right-wing events in Huntington Beach, where Hostetter suggested executing Trump's enemies.
Katie told Stardia that on January 6, she went down the rabbit hole and began working to find any footage of group members they could find. While the indictment does not directly cite Katie's Twitter group, it appears to be based on their findings.
What the indictment doesn't say is that as Twitter users documented his actions, Hostetter sent them eerie, borderline-threatening tweets. "I know your name," he wrote in one February Twitter reply to a Twitter investigator who wrote that they'd "love to chat sometime" about how Hostetter's crew carried bags and weapons to the Capitol.
“We will be chatting soon enough, trust me,” Hostetter replied, and in another tweet to Katie, he said, “My team is zeroing in. Just wait until the script is flipped.”
Katie stated that exposing the group's actions was necessary, even if it was stressful.
“We did this because the public needed to know,” Katie explained before joking, “I’ve always been nosey by nature
, but I never imagined it would lead to this.”
Taylor spoke as part of an American Phoenix Project panel on the eve of the Capitol attack at a Virginia Women
for Trump rally at the U.S. Capitol, calling himself a "free American" and saying he would "fight" and "bleed" before allowing freedom to be taken.
“These anti-Americans have made the fatal mistake of unleashing patriots’ rage on these streets, and they did so without realizing that we will not return to our peaceful way of life until this election is rectified, our liberties restored, and America is preserved,” Taylor said.
The men followed through on their threats the next day, according to the indictment, when Warner entered the building through a broken window, and Taylor and Hostetter joined the mob pushing through the police line, with Taylor warning officers that it was their "last chance" to "move back."
Martinez and Kinnison also visited the Capitol Building's Upper West Terrace, where Mele recorded a selfie video.
Mele explained, "We stormed the Capitol."
Taylor later boasted about his exploits on Telegram, saying, "I was pushing through traitors all day today. WE STORMED THE CAPITOL! Freedom was fully demonstrated today!"
Hostetter described the attack as the "shot heard around the world" and the "2021 version of 1776" on Instagram
, noting that the war lasted eight years. "We are just getting started," he wrote.