Jan. 6 probe heats up with Oath Keepers inquiry, reported DOJ subpoenas
Prosecutors want to know whether Trump-allied attorney Sidney Powell is helping pay the legal fees of the Oath Keepers
The Justice Department on Wednesday issued subpoenas to Trump officials on the same day that federal prosecutors asked a judge to open an ethics investigation to determine whether Trump-allied attorney Sidney Powell is helping pay the legal fees of the right-wing Oath Keepers.
The DOJ appears to be ramping up its investigation of the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol as the House conducts hearings about the incident with a heavy focus on the actions of former President Donald Trump.
Department of Justice prosecutors cited media reports claiming that Defending the Republic, which Powell runs, is paying Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes' legal fees, Reuters reported. The conservative group is also reportedly paying the legal fees for Oath Keepers Kelly Meggs, Connie Meggs, and Kenneth Harrelson.
The prosecutors claimed such payments would violate the attorneys' professional conduct rules in Washington, D.C.
"Under those rules, defense lawyers must only accept payments from their own clients, unless three conditions are met: the client must give informed consent, information related to the representation must be protected and the third-party fee arrangement cannot cause 'interference with the lawyer’s independence of professional judgment or with the client-lawyer relationship,'" Reuters explained.
The House Jan. 6 committee subpoenaed Powell in January as part of its separate investigation into the Capitol riot.
FBI agents also reportedly delivered subpoenas Wednesday morning to Georgia attorney Brad Carver, who purportedly signed a document claiming he was a Trump elector, and to campaign official Thomas Lane, a Virginia man who worked to reelect Trump in Arizona and New Mexico, The Washington Post reported.
Lane apparently left the Trump campaign to work for the Republican National Committee’s Virginia election efforts.
The DOJ has charged more than 800 people for their alleged roles in the Jan. 6 riot. The executive branch agency expanded its probe earlier this year by issuing subpoenas to those involved in Trump's "Stop the Steal" rally, which occurred before the riot.