A member of the far-right Oath Keepers who stormed the U.S. Capitol testified that he was ready to fight to keep former President Donald Trump in office and was preparing himself in the weeks before Jan. 6 to say goodbye to his family, he testified in a seditious conspiracy trial on Tuesday.
Jason Dolan, a 46-year-old military veteran, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and a count of obstruction of an official proceeding in September and testified in the trial of five other members of the extremist group under a cooperation agreement with the government.
Other cooperating defendants are also expected to testify in the trial. Dolan has not pleaded guilty to seditious conspiracy, but three other Oath Keepers have.
Dolan testified Tuesday that before the Jan. 6 attack, he was drinking —often alone and in his garage — and getting sucked into online conspiracy theories. “I was watching a lot of videos about the election. At the time I felt like the election had been stolen,” he said.
Dolan said he was trying to “mentally prepare” at the time for how far he was willing to go to keep the former star of “The Apprentice” in office for a second term.
In Dec. 2020 text messages displayed by the government on Tuesday, Dolan wrote that there was “no coming back” from what he was prepared to do and that he would be “lucky” if he got “a prison sentence, tagged with treason, or a bullet” as a result of his actions.
“I think my biggest trouble is trying to convince myself to say good bye,” Dolan wrote in the message to other Florida Oath Keepers.
Testifying on Tuesday, Dolan said that he was not just bloviating.
“I meant it literally,” Dolan said in court Tuesday, adding that he was asking himself, “Is this all just going to be talk or am I willing to back up my words with actions?”
Dolan testified that he was “pretty pissed” when he heard that Joe Biden had won the election and said it “didn’t seem possible” that Trump would lose.
“As one person, it’s not something that you can do by yourself. You need a group, you need a lot of people,” he testified.
“It felt like within the group I was with … that there was a core group that would be willing to fight,” Dolan said, referring to the Florida members of the Oath Keepers organization.
Dolan — echoing language used by Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes — said he felt he needed to be willing to “conquer or die,” and, if need be, “take up arms and fight back” on Trump’s behalf.
Five members of the Oath Keepers, including Rhodes, are on trial for seditious conspiracy.