The new communications director for the Republican Senate nominee in Nevada — a key state that could determine control in Washington — marched to the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, with two members of the far-right extremist group the Oath Keepers including one who was later charged with sedition and another with breaking into the Capitol and at least two others who were charged for illegally entering the building, according to videos reviewed by CNN’s KFile.
Courtney Holland, a Nevada-based political activist who does not appear to have entered the Capitol building herself and has not been charged with crimes related to January 6, was named Adam Laxalt’s top spokeswoman in early July. Laxalt is running against Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto and the race is considered a toss up.
Holland traveled to Washington, DC, for the January 6, 2021, “Stop the Steal” rally where she was listed as a speaker for a rally to be held near the Capitol following then-President Donald Trump’s speech near the White House. That second rally did not take place as scheduled. She had previously spoken at a November event in Washington, DC, and was photographed with several “Stop the Steal” organizers who also spoke. The “Stop the Steal” movement believes Trump’s lies that the 2020 election was stolen from him.
Early on the morning of January 6, Holland walked with a group to the main rally, which featured Trump, according to a video in a since-deleted tweet on her account archived on the Internet Wayback Machine. The group included three other speakers listed for the rally near the Capitol.
Following Trump’s rally, Holland was part of a group that now-included four other scheduled speakers for the second rally that made their way toward the Capitol guided by three Oath Keepers, according to videos and photos reviewed by CNN’s KFile. Holland said in a statement to CNN on Tuesday that she did not know the men, describing them as “security.” Two of those Oath Keepers, Kenneth Harrelson and Jason Dolan, have since been charged by the Department of Justice for their role in the Capitol attack. Also walking with Holland was Dr. Simone Gold, an anti-vaccine doctor who pleaded guilty in March to entering the Capitol and was recently sentenced to 60 days in jail, and John Strand, a co-defendant in her case who has pleaded not guilty.
There is no indication Holland herself entered the Capitol. Pictures posted by amateur sleuths last year tracking Capitol rioters appear to show Holland in a restricted area in front of the Capitol. Holland later repeatedly downplayed the attack, retweeting false claims suggesting the riot was the work of the far-left group Antifa and a tweet calling the protest “the largest civil rights protest in history.”
Holland told CNN in her Tuesday statement that she went to Washington expecting to attend a “peaceful gathering.” She said she did not know the Oath Keepers who led her to the second “Stop the Steal” event that was supposed to take place near the Capitol. Holland said she has never been subpoenaed, questioned, or accused of wrongdoing and called the riot “an unfortunate day in our country’s history.”
“Like thousands of others I attended the event, with expectations of a peaceful gathering. Event organizers asked me and many others to speak at a permitted area behind the Capitol and provided us with what we were told was event security, who we did not know, to reach the area. Upon reaching the permitted area, I became aware that the situation was deteriorating and decided to leave the Capitol complex to return to my hotel. I intended to speak at a peaceful rally, similar to a previous event held in November. Once it became clear what was happening, I left,” Holland said.
Guided by far-right militia members
Videos on social media and YouTube show Holland marching to the Capitol with her hand on Harrelson’s shoulder. The group appears to be led at points by an unidentified man in a blue blazer wearing an Oath Keepers sweatshirt. The group walked in a “stack” formation that the Department of Justice said the Oath Keepers used to move through crowds on January 6, 2021.
The FBI explained the Oath Keepers’ use of stack formations in a criminal complaint against Harrelson, which does not reference Holland or her group’s walk to the Capitol. “One defining feature of this formation is that members keep their hands on the backs or vests of the person in front of them to remain together while entering a room or weaving through a crowd,” they wrote in the complaint, which includes a photo of a different group of Oath Keepers marching in that formation outside of the Capitol building. “The purpose of maintaining direct physical contact with one another is to efficiently communicate with one another, especially in crowded or noisy areas.”
One video — from the amateur sleuth YouTube account “Hunting Insurrectionists,” which was verified by CNN’s KFile by watching the original videos — tracking their group’s march to the Capitol shows Holland walking from behind with her hand on an Oath Keeper’s shoulder that appears to be Harrelson as someone yells, “make a hole ladies and gentlemen,” for their group to pass. Strand can also briefly be seen talking to Gold. Another YouTube video shows Harrelson, Gold and Strand all marching together with Holland. Dolan appears at the front of the group as well.
Harrelson was charged by the Department of Justice for a number of actions related to breaking into the Capitol, and later he was also charged with sedition. Dolan was also charged by the Department of Justice with five counts related to the Capitol riot, but three of his charges were dropped as part of a plea agreement that included cooperation with the government. Dolan pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy and one count of obstruction of an official proceeding.
The documents outlining evidence against Dolan noted both Oath Keepers traveled to Washington together and were frequently together before and during the Capitol riot. It alleged both men brought weapons to the area that they left in Virginia. Dolan’s indictment from the Department of Justice makes reference to his march from the event near the White House.
Numerous members of the Oath Keepers have been charged for their roles breaking into the Capitol building. Last week, the Justice Department released new details that alleged extensive planning by the Oath Keepers to prepare for violence in Washington, DC, on January 6, 2021, including lessons to conduct “hasty ambushes,” a “death list” of Georgia election officials and attempts to acquire homemade firearms.
Holland’s exact movements after getting to the Capitol are unclear.
The group appeared to have made it to the east side of the Capitol, where the second rally was supposed to take place. One video, released by the Department of Justice to news organizations in the case against Harrelson, shows a cell phone video shot by the Oath Keeper on the east side of the Capitol with several members of the stack formation together, including what seems to be Holland.
One video appears to show her on the northwest side of the Capitol building with several members of her group, but not the Oath Keepers. A video from a since-deleted tweet also shows her at the east side of the Capitol near where the video shot by Harrelson was taken.
Following the riot and aftermath, Holland said in since-deleted tweets she would still stand up for Trump.
“Last time I checked the Constitution it said ‘We the People’ not ‘We the Government,'” she said just after the attack, and added in another tweet, “I’m still not giving up on fighting for Trump.”
A year later, Holland maintained on Instagram the riot was “not an insurrection.”