Austin Carter admitted in a plea agreement that he conspired with Edward Kelley to kill FBI agents from the Knoxville office.

Credit: WBIR

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — In a plea agreement, 26-year-old Austin Carter of Knoxville admitted to conspiring with a co-defendant to kill FBI agents working in the Knoxville office.

According to court documents, Carter admitted to conspiring over at least a two-week period in December 2022 with 33-year-old co-defendant Edward Kelley of Maryville to kill FBI agents and “retaliate against government conduct.”

Kelley entered a routine not-guilty plea in January after being indicted by an East Tennessee grand jury. Carter also originally pleaded not guilty.

Kelley alone faces federal counts of solicitation to commit a crime of violence and influencing a federal official by threat.

According to the newly-filed plea agreement, Carter admitted that he, Kelley, and a “cooperating witness” who remained unidentified in court documents, discussed collecting information and plans to kill FBI employees.

Carter admitted he provided the “cooperating witness” with a list of FBI employees he received from Kelley and instructed the witness to memorize and then burn the list. On December 14, 2022, Carter and Kelley “discussed plans to attack the FBI field office in Knoxville, Tennessee,” according to the agreement.

Credit: DOJ
Edward Kelley shown in January 2021 in Washington.

In January, Carter and Kelley appeared in chains during a brief court appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jill McCook in federal court in Knoxville.

Federal authorities portray Kelley as the leader of the conspiracy, according to previous reporting by WBIR. The bid to kill the federal agents stems from his arrest for taking part in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, prosecutors allege.