KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — More information is being revealed in court documents relating to two East Tennessee men who were charged after they allegedly planned to attack the FBI Knoxville Office and kill law enforcement officers who were involved in investigating the January 6 Riot at the U.S. Capitol.

Edward Kelley (Courtesy Blount County Sheriff’s Office)

On Friday, the Department of Justice released an unsealed federal criminal complaint. According to the complaint, Edward Kelley, 33, of Maryville and Austin Carter, 26, of Knoxville are facing charges of conspiracy, retaliating against a Federal Official, Interstate threats, and solicitation to commit a crime. Previous coverage from WATE shared that Kelley was the fourth rioter to enter the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Austin Carter (Courtesy Laurel County Jail)

In court records obtained by WATE, it was stated that Kelley and Carter initially appeared before the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Tennessee on Dec. 16. At the hearing, both Carter and Kelley were represented by Defense Attorney Josh Hedrick, who, according to Knox Defense, has been working in criminal defense since 2006.

The court record shows that both Kelley and Carter reserved the right to a detention hearing, but only Carter requested one. Carter’s detention hearing is set for Dec. 21 at 11 a.m., and the preliminary hearing for both Kelley and Carter is set for Jan. 1, 2023, at 1:30 p.m.

According to the court record on Dec. 21, Carter will remain in custody.

The contents of the federal criminal complaint released on Friday are included below.

According to the criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court, the FBI received information in Dec. 2021 about Kelley’s involvement in the January 6, 2021 incident, which prompted them to open the investigation on Kelley and assign case agents to further investigate. According to the complaint, Kelley was charged on May 3, 2022, with:

  • Assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers,
  • Civil Disorder
  • Destruction of Government Property
  • Entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds
  • Disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds
  • Engaging in physical violence in a restricted building or grounds
  • Entering and remaining in the Gallery of Congress
  • Disorderly Conduct in a Capitol Building
  • Act of Physical Violence in the Capitol Grounds or Buildings
  • Parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol Building.

On May 5, the complaint states that Special Agents and Task Force Officers of the TBI arrested Kelley at his place of employment in Knoxville, and search warrants were issued through the Eastern District of Tennessee and executed on Kelley’s vehicle and residence.

On Sunday, November 20, Kelley, Carter, and a person listed as “Witness 1”, who is said to personally know Kelley and Carter, used an instant messaging service to discuss mearing up at Jarvis Park in Maryville on Dec. 3 according to prosecutors. The complaint also states that the service was used by Kelley and Carter to correspond with Witness 1 on other dates as well.

Prosecutors allege that Witness 1 gave Maryville Police Department an envelope that was given to Carter by Kelley on Dec. 13. In the envelope, there was a printed document titled “The list” which appeared to be made on a computer-generated word document. The complaint adds a thumb drive was in the envelope with what appeared to be video footage from Kelley’s home on the morning of May 5, showing at least one law enforcement officer approaching the home.

The list contained around 37 names, positions, and some phone numbers of the law enforcement personnel who participated in investigating Kelley, prosecutors say. According to the complaint, the list included information about officers who were “present at arrest or home search” of Kelley on May 5.

The FBI interviewed Witness 1 on Dec. 13. During that discussion, they shared what happened when the three of them meet on Dec. 3 the complaint says. The following quote was taken directly from a transcript of the Interview with Witness 1 included in the complaint.

“During the walk, KELLEY made a statement to the effect of, ‘with us being such a small group, we will mainly conduct recon missions and assassination missions.[‘] KELLEY further said, ‘I don’t have the list now, but I will get you the list later on.’ KELLEY asked CARTER and Witness 1 to collect intel on the individuals that were on the list, which Witness 1 understood KELLEY to be providing at a later date. KELLEY told Witness 1, in sum and substance ‘reach out to your cop
and see what information you can collect on the individuals on the list.'”

During this interview, the complaint said it was also stated that during the Dec. 3 meeting, Kelley further stated that an example mission that they could do would be targeting Federal Agents, and allegedly mentioned specifically the last name of an FBI Special Agent.

The complaint also says that after asking Witness 1 if they owned any firearms, to which Witness 1 said they owned 3, Kelley allegedly asked what scope the Witness 1’s rifle had, and responded “good” and something to the effect of that “the magnifier will come in handy with us being such a small group” and “we will do more long distance things.”

Earlier on Dec. 13, the complaint says that Carter and Witness 1 were working together where they worked, and at the end of the shift, Carter allegedly told Witness 1 “hang on, I
have something for you.” When Witness 1 asked what it was, Carter allegedly said “don’t open
it now, open it later. Burn it when you’re done.” The complaint says that Carter asked if he got the envelope from from Kelley, and Carter replied “Yes, memorize it and burn everything in the envelope.”

After leaving their place of employment, Witness 1 told FBI agents that they opened the envelope, found the list and the thumb drive, and then contacted law enforcement. Following their meeting with law enforcement, Witness 1 agreed with police to make secret recordings of Kelley and Carter.

The complaint mentions that there were at least four recorded phone calls on Dec. 14, where the following statements were alleged.

Phone call 1:

The complaint did not include many direct quotes from this phone call, however, it was stated that Kelley allegedly said he believed there was surveillance on his wife and stated “be aware that I’m probably going to get rolled up again, um, we need to make a course of action.” Kelley also allegedly said that their next meeting would not be at Jarvis park and that he wanted to go down to Athens and “do immediate action drills.

Phone call 2

Transcript quoted directly from complaint

Kelley: “heading down to Athens on Christmas Eve, so I’m going to stash some stuff at your
place, sound good?
Witness 1: “OK”
Kelley: “cause I need, I need stuff within arm’s reach if things are getting the way I hear that they are.”
Witness 1: “what, what kind of thing are you like, just curious so I can put, like know where
it is, like does it need to be inside or can I put it in the shed in the back?”
Kelley: “it needs to be inside, it’s going to be weapons and ammo.”

Phone call 3:

Transcript quoted directly from complaint

Kelley: I just sent Austin [CARTER] a message, here’s your course of action: if I’m extradited to DC
or you don’t hear about my status within 24 or 48 hours of my, if they are coming to arrest me again, start it. You guys are taking them out at their office. What you and Austin [CARTER] need to do is recruit as many as you can, call [UI] who you need to, and you’re going to attack their office. If the same thing happens to any of you guys, I’m doing the same thing, okay?
Witness 1: “Just to make sure I’m understanding which office, we’re going after the Knox one, right?”
Kelley: “yes.”… “once you guys have enough people … you don’t have time to train or coordinate, but every hit has to hurt, every hit has to hurt.

Phone call 4:

Less of this conversation was quoted directly in the complaint, however, it is stated that Witness 1 asked Carter if he had talked to Kelley, and carter confirmed that he had. Witness 1 then confirmed that Kelley had told Carter a similar plan to make sure that they were on the same page, and Carter said “we might end up with different ideas on how we go about it, but I think the idea is, if it’s one it’s all, and if it’s all it’s going to be none.”

Witness 1 also asked Carter if he was on board with that part, and Carter replied, “if you are I am, because I’ve been in on this for a minute now.” and further said “this is the time, add up or put up” and “to definitely make sure you got everything racked, locked up and loaded.”

At the time of the initial announcement, the Department of Justice added “Members of the public are reminded that these are only charges and that every person is presumed innocent until their guilt has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Read the full federal criminal complaint below.

As this case progresses, WATE will keep you updated with the latest information.