Georgia man among those facing federal charges following Capitol riot

Credit: North Georgia News

Credit: North Georgia News

A Georgia man with connections to the QAnon conspiracy theory is among at least 16 people facing federal charges from Wednesday’s assault on the U.S. Capitol.

Cleveland Grover Meredith of Hiawassee is charged with threatening House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice. CNN reports that federal charging documents show Meredith also faces weapons charges.

In 2018, Meredith attracted attention in metro Atlanta for erecting a billboard on Cobb Parkway in Acworth espousing QAnon, a baseless and debunked conspiracy theory that holds Democrats and Hollywood elites are part of a secret cabal that snatches children to sexually exploit and kill for a supposed youth-regenerating chemical. QAnon adherents believe that President Donald Trump is in a holy war against the cabal, and at least some apparently saw this past week’s riot as a part of Trump’s planned takedown of the cabal.

According to a report filed by federal agents, Meredith allegedly sent a text message threatening to put “a bullet in (Pelosi’s) noggin on Live TV” and another message that he was headed to Washington for the rally with armor-piercing bullets. The report notes that car trouble prevented Meredith from arriving in time for the pro-Trump rally, but he continued to Washington anyway.

Acting on a tip, FBI agents found Meredith at a Washington, D.C., hotel Thursday evening. The report said Meredith consented to a search of his hotel room, cellphone, truck and the trailer it was hauling. In the search, agents allegedly found an assault rifle, handguns and ”hundreds of rounds of ammunition,” as well as the threatening messages.

In one message, a relative expresses disbelief at his comments about Pelosi. Meredith allegedly replied, “I’ve been on the radar for a while now, they now (sic) I’m harmless.”

The report states that Meredith continued to send violent and profane messages about Pelosi. “I predict that within 12 days, many in our country will die,” he allegedly wrote.

When the other participant in the text conversation said they were worried about him, Meredith allegedly replied that he was “high” and locked in his hotel room. FBI agents reported seizing “a box of suspected THC edibles and a vial of Testosterone Cypionate/Propionate.”

In June, Meredith showed up to a Black Lives Matter protest in Hiawassee with an assault rifle, the North Georgia News reported.

“I sincerely believe the New World Order, Cabal, Deep State — whatever you want to call it — wants society to devolve into a race war so that it’s much easier to take over,” he told the newspaper.

Hiawasse Police Chief Paul Smith said Meredith was known to local law enforcement and that he had recently moved from the city to nearby Hayesville, North Carolina.

Meredith is part of a growing number of people facing charges following the attack on Congress. Along with the 16 facing federal charges, the Justice Department said approximately 40 people face charges in Superior Court ranging from curfew violations to gun charges.

Those numbers are likely to grow as internet sleuths pore over photos and video the insurrectionists took of the riots and posted to social media. Americus attorney McCall Calhoun took part in breaching the Capitol and posted photos from inside the Rotunda.

“The Deep State cannot stop us,” he wrote on Parler, a social media network popular with Trump supporters. “They learned that today when we stormed the Capitol and took it. The word is we’re all coming back armed for war.”

Calhoun has not been charged.