On January 6, 2021, the far-right group Oath Keepers amassed more weaponry than the veteran, who is now a member of the group, had seen since his time in the service.
In the second week of the historic seditious conspiracy trial, Terry Cummings testified that he had traveled to Washington with several members of a group from Florida, bringing his own AR-15 rifle and ammunition box to contribute to the Quick Reaction Force (QRF) that the group had allegedly established in a hotel outside the city.
Cummings, who displayed his rifle and ammunition for the jury, testified, “I have not seen so many weapons in one spot since I was in the military.”
Cummings, who is 66 years old, said that he went to DC with one of the defendants, Kenneth Harrelson, and was told by another defendant, Kelly Meggs, to bring guns to a hotel room in Virginia where the gang was allegedly staging the QRF.
Cummings stated that he brought the AR-15 because “it would potentially be used, not as an offensive situation, but more as a show of power,” and because “there had been continual disturbances throughout the country” and because he wanted to “have a presence” with the other Oath Keeper members.
As of this now, Cummings has not been arrested for anything related to January 6.
Cummings testified that he slept in a hotel room with Florida Oath Keeper Jason Dolan on January 5. Dolan has pled guilty to conspiracy charges.
On the morning of January 6th, Cummings said, the group woke up and drove to the Ellipse in a minivan. Cummings told the jury that he and other Oath Keepers were working a security detail for a “VIP,” though he did not recall the name of the person they were tasked to guard.
“We had been asked to escort a VIP from the demonstration to the Capitol,” he explained. “I wasn’t really clear at the moment [why we departed].
Cummings reported that while they were walking, Meggs told them that “they had breached the Capitol.” Cummings expressed worry that someone was “breaking into or entering in an area individuals shouldn’t be in,” though he couldn’t identify who “they” were at the time.
Cummings said that the scene in the Capitol upon their arrival was unlike anything he had ever seen before. He said there were a lot of individuals milling about the structure, some of them were climbing the walls.
Cummings reportedly lied and stated he needed to use the restroom when other lawmakers, including Meggs and Harrelson, walked into the Capitol. Other members were inside the building at the time, and he had no idea what transpired.
After leaving the building, the other Oath Keepers “were having chats about having… seen a Capitol police officer inside” who was “standing on steps and being confronted by people within the Capitol,” according to Cummings.
The people “seemed relieved that they were there to intervene in a potentially disastrous situation,” Cummings added.
Cummings said under cross-examination that he “did not hear of any intentions” to storm the building the entire time he was in Washington, DC.
Defendant James Lee Bright asked Cummings, “Did you ever hear any human being discussing the activities you saw on January 6 at any time during the entire day, the ride from Florida two days before, camping out in North Carolina the night of the fourth, driving from North Carolina on the fifth?” Cummings said he had not.
He then said, “No.” Cummings claimed that he would have “turned around” and reported the group to authorities if he had overheard such conversations.
Cummings also told the jury that he had not received any instruction from Rhodes to activate the QRF and that he and the other Oath Keepers he was with did not bring firearms into DC because “it’s illegal to do so.” Additionally, he stated that he did not examine any QRF gun cases aside from his own, therefore he could not attest to the presence or absence of firearms within them.
Those charged with seditious conspiracy, including Harrelson, Meggs, Rhodes, and co-defendants Jessica Watkins and Thomas Caldwell, have all entered not guilty pleas.