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Phoenix man will plead not guilty to charges of planning Capitol attacks, lawyer says

Prosecutors say Army vet Edward Vallejo worked with Oath Keepers leader on Capitol assault. Also: 'Shaman' back in Arizona, 'Captain Moroni' pleads guilty

PHOENIX — A Phoenix man accused of seditious conspiracy in the Capitol insurrection will enter a "not guilty" plea to all charges against him, according to his attorney.

The defendant, 63-year-old Edward Vallejo, appeared at a nine-minute hearing Friday in Federal Court in downtown Phoenix via a video link from a Florence prison.  

Federal Magistrate Judge Deborah Fine ordered Vallejo to remain in custody at least until a detention hearing on Thursday, Jan. 20.

Vallejo's court-appointed public defender told Fine that he would plea "not guilty" to all charges. 

Vallejo is one of 11 members of the far-right Oath Keepers group that includes the leader and founder Stewart Rhodes who was charged last week with seditious conspiracy. 

Rhodes is the highest-profile figure arrested in the Jan. 6 insurrection. 

The indictment says Vallejo, a member of the Oath Keepers for at least the last decade, worked hand in hand with Rhodes.

The charge of seditious conspiracy is a rarely used statute that dates to the 18th century.  It is the most serious charge filed to date in the U.S. Justice Department's investigation.

The maximum penalty is 20 years in prison.

RELATED: 'We have only begun to fight': Phoenix man accused of conspiring with Jan. 6 rioters

Vallejo is accused of coordinating a paramilitary team - the "Arizona Quick Reaction Force" - waiting to assault the Capitol. 

According to the indictment, Vallejo transported firearms, ammunition, and tactical gear from Virginia to Washington, D.C., from Jan. 1 through 5, 2021, the day before the insurrection.

Vallejo said "armed conflict" and "guerrilla war" between his group and law enforcement was possible if the Capitol were breached, according to the indictment. 

"We got food for 30 days," Vallejo allegedly said in a group chat after the Capitol was stormed. "We have only begun to fight!"

Public records show Vallejo is a Phoenix resident and Arizona native. He doesn't have a criminal record.

Vallejo is listed as vice president of a non-profit called Homefront Battle Buddies on the organization's web page. The group says its mission is "building a community to serve America's veterans."

Vallejo's biography on the Battle Buddies site says he's a U.S. Army veteran who served in a helicopter ambulance unit. He's described as an "Icon in the Freedom Movement"  and a supporter of former Libertarian candidate for president Ron Paul.

RELATED: These Arizonans were charged in the Jan. 6 insurrection; here's where their cases stand a year later

Arizona corporate records show the non-profit was formed just eight months ago, in May 2021. Its address is a rural location in Ash Fork in Yavapai County. 

The president of Battle Buddies is listed as Adam Kokesh, a 2020 Libertarian candidate for president whose platform was the "orderly dissolution of the federal government."

Less than eight hours after the U.S. Justice Department announced the Oath Keepers charges overnight Thursday, the Homefront Battle Buddies' Twitter feed posted  this, apparently from Vallejo:

"... about to enter the Phoenix Field Office of the FBI to interrogate them regarding the January 6th affair.

Wish me luck. Report to follow."

There has been no "report." 

There  were new developments last week in the cases of two other Jan. 6 defendants from Arizona:

'Captain Moroni' Pleads Guilty

Nathan Wayne Entrekin, the Cottonwood man who showed up dressed as a gladiator, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of demonstrating in a Capitol building. He faces a maximum of six months in prison. Sentencing is set for April 22.

Entrekin was dressed as "Captain Moroni," in the apparent belief that he was re-enacting a battle depicted in the Book of Mormon, the sacred text of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. 

RELATED: Capitol 'gladiator' from Arizona ordered released pending trial, despite judge's concerns about his mental health

'Shaman' Moves Closer to Home

Jacob Chansley, the so-called "QAnon Shaman," asked a federal judge in Washington, D.C., to place him in a prison closer to home in Phoenix, where his mother lives.

Chansley got his wish. 

The "public face" of the insurrection, in the words of prosecutors, has been moved to a minimum-security federal prison in Safford, three hours east of Phoenix. But the prison website says all visits have been suspended.

Last November, Chansley was sentenced to 41 months in prison for obstructing an official proceeding. Including time served, his maximum sentence is 31 months.

Chansley has hired a new attorney to appeal his conviction.

RELATED: Who is Ray Epps? The Arizona man who debunked claims that FBI orchestrated Jan. 6 insurrection

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