1st Amendment Praetorian is a right-wing paramilitary organization that works with far-right influencers to provide security at political events and has singled out claims of voter fraud as key to its “intelligence” mission.
Founded in 2020 by a former U.S. Army Green Beret and QAnon believer to “protect” Trump rally attendees, 1st Amendment Praetorian—also known as 1AP—targets veterans of the military, law enforcement, and intelligence communities to join its ranks.
The group claimed on its now-defunct website that it provided “intelligence and security services to grassroots events in order to ensure that these rights remain protected and that important voices are heard.” 1st Amendment Praetorian has been involved in efforts to call the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election into question and has ties to far-right figures such as former general and National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, Stop the Steal organizer Ali Alexander, lawyer Sidney Powell, and the anti-government extremist Oath Keepers, according to the Jan. 6 House Select Committee.
January 6, 2021
- On Dec. 30, 2020, members of 1st Amendment Praetorian participated in a conference call held by Roger Stone acolyte and QAnon promoter Jason Sullivan in which Sullivan urged Trump supporters to “descend on the Capitol.”
- On Jan. 4, 2021, 1st Amendment Praetorian’s Twitter account appeared to signal that the organization expected violence on Jan. 6. “There may be some young National Guard captains facing some very, very tough choices in the next 48 hours,” read a post on the group’s Twitter account, according to The New York Times.
- On Jan. 5, 2021, the group provided security at gatherings in Washington, D.C., including at the March to Save America. The group’s founder, Robert Patrick Lewis, was also a featured speaker at the Rally for Revival.
- On Jan. 6, 2021, a member of the group, Philip Luelsdorff, was present in the Trump campaign’s “War Room” at the Willard Hotel. As of July 2022, 1st Amendment Praetorian was the only far-right group to have been publicly reported as being present at the meeting.
- The group has also claimed that it provided impromptu security for “members of the main stream [sic] media” who were covering the rally at the Ellipse on Jan. 6.
The Big Lie
- Following the November 2020 election, 1st Amendment Praetorian provided research on discredited allegations of election fraud to Sidney Powell, according to the group’s leader. (1st Amendment Praetorian also has extensive ties to fellow election denier Flynn, serving as his personal security force, including at a QAnon event in Dallas.)
- Members of 1st Amendment Praetorian provided security to Staci Burk, an Arizona woman who made unsubstantiated claims of election fraud there. (Eventually, the 1AP members staying with Burk seized her phone, which they believed contained evidence of public officials’ involvement in stealing the election from Trump. One member then allegedly sent her a photo of her phone, claiming it was present in the “War Room” at the Willard Hotel on Jan. 6.)
- On Nov. 14, 2020, 1st Amendment Praetorian provided security at the Million MAGA March in Washington, D.C., including protection for Stop the Steal organizer Ali Alexander.
- On Dec. 18, 2020, Lewis drove Powell and former Gen. Flynn to the White House for a meeting in which the pair attempted to convince Trump to seize voting machines.
- On March 1, 2022, 1AP member Michael Kenny vaguely threatened Burk after she had provided testimony to the House Select Committee investigating the insurrection.