Cleveland Meredith was one of the first thirteen people charged in connection with the January 6th insurrection. He drove from Colorado with a Glock 19, a 9mm pistol, a Taver X95 rifle with a telescopic sight, high-capacity magazines, and more than 2,500 rounds of ammunition. Calling the riots “target practice” in a Facebook post, Meredith ultimately arrived too late to carry out his threats against elected Democratic officials, specifically House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The New Yorker profiled Meredith just a week after the insurrection, detailing his life from living in an upscale suburb of Atlanta to a cabin in the North Georgia mountains as he fell more deeply under the spell of Donald Trump and the QAnon conspiracy theory, telling a local news station during a protest, “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.”
The week before the insurrection, Meredith had made a 40-hour drive with his sons to take a ski trip in Colorado, then turned around and tried to make it to Washington, DC (“Hauling ass, 3.5 hours from target practice,” he said in one message, according to prosecutors. “Ready to remove several craniums from shoulders. I’m gonna collect a sh*t ton of Traitors heads.”). Despite not being able to join his MAGA buddies on time, he still managed to draw the FBI’s attention with his Facebook posts and texts. One text Meredith allegedly sent to a friend on January 10th read, “Thinking about heading over to Pelosi C–T’s speech and putting a bullet in her noggin on Live TV” along with the purple devil emoji. He allegedly had two firearms and thousands of rounds of ammo in his trailer when authorities searched it.
Cleveland Meredith, charged with threatening to kill Pelosi and bringing guns + ammo to DC (but arriving too late on Jan. 6 to join the insurrection), will remain in jail, per newly unsealed (and partially redacted) opinion from Judge Amy Berman Jackson: https://t.co/OL0zUMSouN pic.twitter.com/CgB8cLU9IV
— Zoe Tillman (@ZoeTillman) May 26, 2021
Meredith’s lawyers argued Wednesday at a detention hearing that he was just joking (“LOL, I’m just having fun,” he wrote at one point), but Judge Amy Berman Jackson wasn’t laughing. “The problem with this argument, of course, is that defendant’s statements were not the least bit funny,” Jackson found. “No one was laughing out loud then or now.”
Jackson refused to grant Meredith release from jail while he awaits trial for threats against Pelosi and illegally bringing ammunition into the District of Columbia, and the judge took aim at Trump allies who continue to promote his election lies. “Six months later, the canard that the election was stolen is being repeated daily on major news outlets and from the corridors of power in state and federal government, not to mention in the near-daily fulminations of the former President,” Jackson wrote.