WASHINGTON — Oathkeepers founder Stewart Rose was convicted Tuesday of a violent conspiracy to overthrow President Joe Biden’s election, prompting the Justice Department to sue him in a mass prosecution for the Jan. 6, 2021 riots. brought a big victory.
A jury in Washington, D.C., has ruled out Rhodes after three days of deliberations in a nearly two-month-long trial that showed a far-right extremist group’s desperate efforts to keep Republican Donald Trump in the White House. He was found guilty of sedition. Rhodes was acquitted of two other conspiracy charges.
The ruling marks an important milestone for the Justice Department and will likely pave the way for prosecutors to move full speed ahead in future trials of other extremists accused of sedition.
The investigator’s work will expand beyond those who attacked the Capitol and focus on others related to Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Appointed veteran prosecutor Jack Smith as special counsel to oversee key aspects of an investigation into attempted subversion of the election and a separate investigation into the retention of classified documents on Trump’s Florida estate.Lago.
Using dozens of encrypted messages, recordings and surveillance videos, prosecutors have begun preparations for an armed rebellion to prevent the transfer of presidential powers to Rhodes shortly after the 2020 elections. I claimed.
Over seven weeks of testimony, jurors will hear how Rhodes gathered supporters and fought to defend Trump, debated the possibility of a “bloody” civil war, and asked Biden if Trump didn’t. warned that the Oathkeepers might need to “rise up in riot” to defeat the…do not act.
One of Rhodes’ co-defendants, Kelly Meggs, the leader of the Florida branch of the Oathkeepers, was also convicted of sedition, while the other three co-defendants were acquitted. A jury found all five defendants guilty of obstructing official process. Congress has proven Biden’s election victory.
Rhodes and Meggs are the first people in nearly 30 years to be convicted in a court of rarely used Civil War-era charges. A seditious conspiracy will get him in prison for up to 20 years.
Rhodes intends to appeal, defense attorney James Lee Bright told reporters. Another Rhodes attorney, Ed Tarpley, described the ruling as a “mixed bag”, adding that “this is not a total victory for the government in any way or form.”
Tarpley said, “I feel that I have filed a case showing through evidence and testimony that Mr. Rose was not guilty of seditious conspiracy.”
At trial alongside Rhodes of Granbury, Texas and Meggs, was another Florida oath keeper, Kenneth Harrelson. Thomas Caldwell, a retired naval intelligence officer from Virginia. Jessica Watkins, leader of an Ohio militia group.
Caldwell was convicted on two counts and acquitted on three counts, including a serious sedition conspiracy charge. His attorney, David Fisher, called the verdict a “big win” for his client and a “big loss” for the Justice Department. He also said he would appeal the two convictions.
Jury selection for the second group of Oathkeepers, who are facing sedition conspiracy charges, is set to begin next week. He will be put on trial for sedition.
Defense attorneys accuse prosecutors of twisting the words of their clients, and the Oathkeepers came to Washington only to provide security for figures like longtime Trump ally Roger Stone The defense focused on showing that Rose’s rhetoric was just silly and that the Oathkeepers had no plans to attack the Capitol until January 6th. rice field.
In an unusual move, Rhodes told jurors he had no plans to attack the Capitol, and stood up to claim that his followers who went inside the building had become rogues.
Rhodes testified that he had no idea his supporters were going to join the mob and storm the Capitol, and said he was upset after learning some were doing so. , said they were acting “ridiculous” and out of duty for the day.
Prosecutors said the Oath Keepers saw an opportunity to advance their plan to block the transfer of power and took action when the mob began storming the Capitol. The attack on the Capitol was “a means to an end” for the Oath Keepers, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathryn Lacozy told jurors in closing arguments.
A jury heard how Rhodes had spent thousands on AR platform rifles, magazines, mounts, sights, and other equipment on his way to Washington before the riots. I saw surveillance footage. There, some of the Orth Keepers hid weapons for a “rapid response force” team, but prosecutors said they were ready to quickly bring weapons into the city if needed. Weapons were not deployed.
On January 6, cameras were seen carrying the Oath Keepers on their shoulders through the crowd in combat uniforms into the Capitol. Rhodes stayed outside like “a general surveying his army on the battlefield,” prosecutors said. I went to a restaurant to celebrate.
The trial revealed new details about Rhodes’ efforts to pressure Trump to remain in the White House in the weeks leading up to January 6. ’” wrote Rhodes.
Another man testified that after the riots, Rhodes tried to persuade Trump to pass on a message urging the president not to give up the fight to stay in power. The man who told the jury there was a way – recorded the meeting with Rose and went to the FBI instead of passing the message on to Trump.
At that meeting, Mr. Rhodes said, “If he didn’t do the right thing and was only to be taken away illegally, he should have brought a rifle,” according to a recording played for the jury. Referring to chairman Nancy Pelosi, Rhodes said, “It should have been fixed on the spot. I would hang Pelosi from the lamppost.”
Three other Oath Keepers have previously pleaded guilty to seditious conspiracies. But the last time the Justice Department won such a conviction in a trial was indicting Islamic extremists for plotting to bomb a New York City landmark in 1995.
For full coverage of the Capitol riots, please visit https://www.apnews.com/capitol-siege.
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