Member of Art Oath keepers who traveled to Washington before the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, testified Wednesday about a massive cache of weapons hidden by the far-right extremist group. Virginia hotel room.

Speaking in the sedition case against Oath Keepers founder Stuart Rhodes and four of his associates, Terry Cummings showed jurors an AR-15 firearm and an orange ammo box he used in the Oath Keepers’ so-called rapid response force. hotel outside of Washington in case they need weapons.

“I haven’t seen so many guns in one place since I’ve been in the military,” said Cummings, a veteran who joined the Oath Keepers in Florida in 2020.

Prosecutors said the oath-keeper groups guarded an arsenal of firearms and were ready to hand them over to extremists in the capital if necessary.

The alleged commands and cache of weapons are central to the Justice Department’s case against Rhodes and four of his associates, who are accused of conspiring to riot in the Jan. 6 attack. Members of the Oath Keepers have stashed their firearms outside of Washington County, given the Capitol’s stricter gun laws.

Authorities say the weapons teams and stockpiles were designed to quickly get weapons into the hands of Oath Keepers if they were needed to support a plot to stop a Republican transfer of power. Donald Trump Democrat Joe Biden.

Cummings’ testimony came in the second week of the trial, which is expected to last several weeks. The others on trial are Thomas Caldwell of Berryville, Va.; Kenneth Harrelson of Titusville, Florida; Jessica Watkins of Woodstock, Ohio; and Kelly Maggs of Dunnellon, Florida.

Lawyers did not deny the existence of emergency response teams, but noted that they were never deployed on January 6. They accused prosecutors of falsely portraying them as an invasion force.

Lawyers said the Oath Keepers often created rapid response forces, but insisted they were a defensive force only to protect against violence by antifa activists or if Trump invoked the Insurrection Act. They don’t face gun charges in Virginia.

Rhodes’ attorneys said they would argue they could not convict him of conspiracy because all the actions he took before Jan. 6 were in preparation for carrying out orders he expected from Trump under the Sedition Act, which gives the president has broad powers to decide when to use military force.

Cummings told jurors that he traveled to Washington on Jan. 6 with other Oath Keepers to be part of the VIP security for Trump’s Ellipse rally. He said he saw it as an opportunity to “express his First Amendment rights” and see a sitting president speak, something he has never done.

Cummings said he thought the rapid response force would “potentially not be used as an offensive situation, but more as a show of force.”

Cummings said he was part of a group acting as a security team for a VIP at a Trump rally before the riots. Cummings and other oath keepers left before Trump finished his speech and headed toward the Capitol.

He recalled Maggs talking about going into the Capitol, something Cummings thought was not a very good idea. He then left to find the bathroom, and when he returned, the group was gone. The group entered the Capitol while he was gone, he said. An hour later, Cummings rejoined his fellow Florida jurors, and eventually Rhodes appeared as well.

Cummings said he had heard no talk of plans to storm or attack the Capitol, though he also said he was not in a leadership position. He was not charged criminally, was subpoenaed to testify for the government, and admitted in court that he had contributed to the legal defense fund of some of the defendants.

Authorities said Maggs and the Florida Oath Keepers brought crates of guns, rifles and suitcases filled with ammunition on Jan. 5 to a Virginia hotel that served as a home for emergency responders. Another team from Arizona brought weapons, ammunition and supplies to last 30 days, court documents said. The team from North Carolina had rifles in a car parked on the hotel grounds, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors described surveillance footage they said showed the Oath Keepers rolling bags, large containers and what appeared to be at least one rifle holster into the hotel.

Over a few days in early January, Rhodes spent $15,500 on weapons, including an AR-platform rifle, magazines, mounts, scopes and other equipment, prosecutors said. Caldwell, in one message, offered to get a boat to ferry “heavy weapons” across the Potomac River into the “waiting hands” of the Oath Keepers.

A former Oath Keeper from North Carolina last week described the creation of a rapid response force for the November 14, 2020 “MAGA Million March” in Washington, D.C. in case Trump invokes the Sedition Act. That day, thousands of Trump supporters gathered in Liberty Square along Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington to support Trump’s false election claims.

Former juror John Zimmerman told jurors that jurors kept at least a dozen rifles and several handguns in his van parked at Arlington National Cemetery to serve as an emergency response force in that case. He said they never brought the weapons to Washington.


Associated Press writer Alanna Durkin Richer in Boston contributed to this report.