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Oath Keepers founder directed Capitol rioters on January 6, Justice Department says

(CNN) The founder of the Oath Keepers was giving directions before and during the US Capitol riot to alleged extremist conspirators among the right-wing paramilitary group, the Justice Department said in court filings Monday and Tuesday.

The new details begin to capture more about the leadership and network within the Oath Keepers around the insurrection, as prosecutors fight to keep defendants in jail and charge additional members of the group.

Monday night's filing highlighted newly disclosed communications over the messaging app Signal that investigators have found from Stewart Rhodes, the Oath Keepers' founder, and regional Oath Keepers leaders.

The Justice Department describes Rhodes as a central presence among the Oath Keepers during the siege, telling some where to go and gathering with them in person at the Capitol.

Prosecutors also described, in court documents supporting the arrest of an Alabama Oath Keeper on Tuesday, how members of the group carried out Rhodes' call to provide security for "VIPs" at events related to the "Stop the Steal" pro-Trump effort on January 5 and 6.

Prosecutors have gradually been building out a major Capitol riot conspiracy case against nine Oath Keepers. The new details about Rhodes, which come in arguments to keep another alleged Oath Keeper who was arrested early in the investigation in jail, is the first time the Justice Department has offered a bigger picture of directions given that day and shared publicly what they've learned about the involvement of the Oath Keepers' national leader. Before this week, nine Oath Keepers from different states had been charged in a conspiracy case.

Rhodes has not been charged and did not immediately respond to a request from CNN on Tuesday.

On January 19, he had denied planning the attack in an interview with CNN.

"We weren't part of any decision to go in there and were part of no planning and no one was instructed to do so," he said then.

"I fully expect to be the media to continue to try to spin it as though I was some kind of grand master planner. If I'd have planned it, it would have been a whole lot different."

Signal messages

But prosecutors cited his own words over a texting app.

Rhodes, on Signal, described "several well equipped" forces surrounding the city for backup, and, prosecutors say, the Oath Keepers come to Washington, DC, to provide security for VIPs at events around undermining the election.

"DO NOT bring in anything that can get you arrested. Leave that outside DC," Rhodes allegedly wrote to other key Oath Keepers, who've already been charged with conspiracy related to the siege.

"There are many, many others, from other groups, who will be watching and waiting on the outside in case of worst case scenarios," Rhodes added in the chat, prosecutors say. He also suggested to the group members to bring flashlights and helmets, and said he planned to bring a collapsible baton.

During the siege, prosecutors say Rhodes also wrote in the Signal a direction to gather Oath Keepers to the southeast side of the Capitol, and at one point was caught on photos and images with several Oath Keepers gathered around him.

"All I see Trump doing is complaining. I see no intent by him to do anything. So the patriots are taking it into their own hands. They've had enough," he allegedly wrote on Signal at 1:38 p.m. that day, shortly after the siege had begun.

Rhodes is called Person One in the court filing but identified in it by prosecutors through a link to a post he made about a call to action on January 6 on the Oath Keepers website.

On the Oath Keepers' site, Rhodes had asked for donations and for volunteers to come to Washington, DC, to assist with "security" on January 5 and 6.

"It is CRITICAL that all patriots who can be in DC get to DC to stand tall in support of President Trump's fight to defeat the enemies foreign and domestic who are attempting a coup, through the massive vote fraud and related attacks on our Republic. We Oath Keepers are both honor-bound and eager to be there in strength to do our part," he wrote in the post.

Rhodes also writes on the Oath Keeper's site about so-called "Quick Reaction Forces" or QRFs -- a key component of the Justice Department's descriptions in court of the danger they believe Oath Keepers pose if they were to be released. Prosecutors previously noted one member's idea to ferry weapons across the Potomac River by boat.

"As we have done on all recent DC Ops, we will also have well armed and equipped QRF teams on standby, outside DC, in the event of a worst case scenario, where the President calls us up as part of the militia to assist him inside DC," Rhodes wrote on the Oath Keepers website before January 6.

Prosecutors wrote in court this week they are still investigating any quick-reaction forces.

After the siege, Rhodes continued to push resistance of the Biden presidency, including on the far-right talk show InfoWars.

Another Oath Keeper charged

In addition to the new focus on Rhodes, prosecutors charged Alabama cleaning business owner Joshua James, another member of the Oath Keepers who provided security around the "Stop the Steal" events on January 5 and January 6, according to a newly unsealed court filing in the DC District Court.

James allegedly dressed in tactical gear to act as a security detail for a speaker at the "Stop the Steal" on the eve of January 6, according to the court filing.

He is charged with two counts related to entering the US Capitol on January 6, according to the court filing.

"On January 6, 2021, James and a number of the same Oath Keepers he was with on January 5—all clad in much of the same tactical and Oath Keeper gear they had donned the day prior—are seen in photographs and videos walking together throughout Washington, D.C., and eventually toward the Capitol building," the FBI wrote in an affidavit supporting James' arrest.

James was arrested in Alabama on Tuesday, according to court records.

James' arrest comes a day after the arrest of another Oath Keeper, Roberto Minuta, who has been linked to longtime Trump-confidant and "Stop the Steal" champion Roger Stone's security circle around January 6.

James and others "wearing apparel with the Oath Keepers name and/or insignia provided security to a speaker at the 'Stop the Steal' events planned for that day," investigators said in James' charging documents.

"Publicly-available video shows that, after storming the Capitol, James congregated with charged and uncharged individuals affiliated with the Oath Keepers—many of whom had also stormed the Capitol, and some of whom James had acted with throughout January 5 and 6, 2021."

This story has been updated with additional developments Tuesday.

CNN's Sara Sidner and Mallory Simon contributed to this report.