The Oath Keeper’s Leader Stewart Rhodes Charged With Seditious Conspiracy For Attack To Stop Electoral College Vote
The Justice Department has charged the national leader of the far-right group Oath Keepers and ten others with seditious conspiracy in connection to last year’s January 6 Capitol attack where the group attempted to block the electoral process that would certify Joe Biden‘s 2020 election win.
Out of the more than 725 people who have been recorded for taking part in the attack, this is the first time prosecutors filed rare seditious conspiracy charges. A charge like that has to carry proof that two or more people had plans to use force to overthrow a government official or hinder the execution of a law. A seditious conspiracy charge results in a maximum of 20 years in prison.
Stewart Rhodes, the Oath Keepers’ leader, was arrested in Texas on Thursday.
“The purpose of the conspiracy was to oppose the lawful transfer of presidential power by force, by preventing, hindering or delaying by force the execution of the laws governing the transfer of power, including the Twelfth and Twentieth Amendments to the Constitution,” the indictment states.
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Prosecutors add that the goal was “breaching and attempting to take control of the Capitol.”
Court documents say that while there is no proof that Rhodes entered the Capitol building on Jan. 6, he was the vocal leader of the group, using Signal, an encrypted messaging app to organize the group.
“We aren’t getting through this without a civil war,” he wrote two days before the attack. “Too late for that. Prepare your mind, body, spirit.”
In last summer’s interview with the New York Times, Rhodes said that entering the Capitol was never the Oath Keepers’ plan.
He said that some members of his group had “gone off mission. There were zero instructions from me or leadership to do so.”
Rhodes was seen outside the building on Jan. 6, and was referred to as “Person One.” He was known for publically threatening violence if Biden was confirmed president. Federal prosecutors have also claimed that the Oath Keepers stored weapons at the nearby Comfort Inn in case a “quick reaction force” was needed.
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland says that the Justice Department will continue to follow the facts and bring everyone who was involved with the Capitol attack to justice.
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