A Tennessee man already facing charges of assaulting a police officer during the storming of the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, was charged Friday with plotting to assassinate several of the federal agents who had investigated him and to attack the FBI’s field office in Knoxville, Tennessee.
The plot by the man, Edward Kelley, 33, of Maryville, was foiled this week by a witness who cooperated with authorities and recorded him and a co-conspirator, Austin Carter, 26, of Knoxville, according to court papers filed in the case.
Kelley and Carter were charged with conspiracy, retaliating against a federal official, interstate communication of a threat, and solicitation to commit a crime of violence. Both men were denied bail at a hearing Friday in U.S. District Court in Knoxville, the Justice Department said.
The inquiry into the assassination plot began Tuesday, court papers said, when an unnamed acquaintance of Kelley’s gave the police in Maryville an envelope containing a document titled “The List” that he had gotten from Carter. The document bore the names of 37 people who had participated in the Jan. 6-related investigation of Kelley, the papers said, including law enforcement officers who were present at the arrest of Kelley and a search of his home in May.
Accompanying the list of names in the envelope was a computer thumb drive that contained what appeared to be video footage from Kelley’s home security camera showing a law enforcement officer approaching his home on the day of the arrest, court papers said.
In an interview with the FBI, the acquaintance told investigators that Kelley had informed him about putting the list together in early December and asked him to reach out to his “cop buddies” about collecting information on the targets.
“With us being such a small group,” the acquaintance quoted Kelley as saying, “we will mainly conduct recon missions and assassination missions.”
On Tuesday, the court papers said, Carter gave the acquaintance the list of the people to be targeted, telling him to memorize it and “burn it when you’re done.” The acquaintance quickly handed the list and the video on the thumb drive over to local police and agreed to make surreptitious recordings of the two men.
On Wednesday afternoon, the acquaintance recorded Kelley asking if he could “stash some stuff” at his place when Kelley went out of town for the Christmas holiday. When the acquaintance asked what kind of stuff, Kelley said it would be “weapons and ammo,” according to the court papers.
A few hours later, in another recorded call, Kelley told the acquaintance that if he did not hear from him for a day or two, he should recruit a group of people and attack the FBI’s office in Knoxville, the papers said.
“You don’t have time to train or coordinate,” Kelley said, according to court papers, “but every hit has to hurt.”
That same evening, the papers say, the acquaintance called Carter to see if he was planning on taking part in the attack on the FBI office.
“This is the time,” Carter said, according to the papers. He then urged the acquaintance “to definitely make sure you got everything racked, locked up, and loaded.”
Lawyers for Kelley and Carter did not respond to messages seeking comment.
Kelley is not the first person at the Capitol on Jan. 6 who later turned his ire against the FBI. In August, after federal agents searched Mar-a-Lago, former President Donald Trump’s private club and residence in Florida, looking for classified documents, an Ohio man named Ricky Schiffer tried to break into the bureau’s field office near Cincinnati armed with a rifle.
Schiffer, who had taken part in a pro-Trump rally at the Capitol but apparently did not break into the building, was rebuffed by security at the FBI office. After fleeing, he was killed in a shootout with the local police.
Prosecutors say Kelley showed up at the Capitol on Jan. 6 wearing a gas mask and a green tactical helmet. He scuffled with a Capitol Police officer on the west side of the building, throwing the officer to the ground, court papers say.
He then used a long piece of wood to shatter a window near the Senate wing door, breaching the Capitol. Prosecutors say Kelley, the fourth person to enter the building through the window, then helped kick open a nearby door.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.