A man designated by the head of the Oath Keepers militia group as their leader of operations on January 6 will avoid prison for his alleged role in the attack on Congress that day.
US District Judge Amit Mehta on Friday sentenced Michael Greene to two years of probation and 60 hours of community service. Mehta rejected federal prosecutors’ request that Greene face a year of incarceration following his conviction for a misdemeanor trespassing offense.
Greene initially appeared in federal indictments of Oath Keepers involved in January 6 as “Person Ten,” an unindicted co-conspirator who prosecutors said Oath Keepers’ founder, Stewart Rhodes, had named as the far-right group’s leader of operations that day. Greene was not accused of entering the Capitol himself.
Greene’s light sentence marks one of a few recent defeats for the Justice Department in January 6 prosecutions. Earlier this month, Mehta, in a bench trial, acquitted James Beeks, a Oath Keeper known for his work as a Broadway actor—which included starring in a production of Jesus Christ Superstar—of conspiracy charges. Federal prosecutors have convicted more than 1,000 people of taking part in the insurrection, and around 30 members of extremist groups involved in the attack have received prison sentences. Rhodes was sentenced in May to an 18-year term following his conviction for seditious conspiracy.
Mother Jones first identified Greene as Person Ten. In interviews then, and statements since, including testimony during his trial, Greene maintained that he went to Washington as a paid security employee, contracted to help the Oath Keepers’ provide security for speakers at pro-Trump rallies on January 5 and 6, among them Roger Stone, the longtime Donald Trump adviser.
Greene, an Iraq War veteran and security contractor, who has said he worked for the Oath Keepers only as “a job” and does not vote, was unusual in the Oath Keepers, an organization made up mostly of far-right ideologues who worked as volunteers. Greene was also one of a few Black people in the largely white organization. Rhodes previously boasted of Greene’s role with the group to rebut allegations of racism.
Prosecutors have argued that Greene knew of Oath Keepers’ plans on January 6. They have cited phone records that showed Rhodes and another senior Oath Keeper, Kelly Meggs, had a joint call just before Meggs led a group of Oath Keepers into the Capitol. And Greene later texted a friend: “We’re storming the Capitol.” In their sentencing memo, prosecutors said Greene should be viewed as part of Oath Keepers’ conspiracy. Greene “summoned his co-conspirators to the Capitol and greenlighted their participation in the attack,” the memo said.
But Greene consistently denied instructing or even knowing that Oath Keepers supposedly under his command entered the Capitol. The ones who did, he told me, “did that shit on their own.”
Mehta said Friday that prosecutors’ evidence against Greene was “far too circumstantial” to warrant a prison time. “The jury did not find Mr. Greene guilty of the most serious offenses with which he was charged,” Mehta said. “That was their verdict, and we have to respect that, just as we ask the public to accept the guilty verdicts of others.”
“I was paid to do a job,” Greene told reporters outside the courthouse Friday. “I came to do a job and I went home.”