Right-wing Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rose, who claims prosecutors called for a “bloody revolution” to keep then-President Donald Trump in power, has called the 2020 election unconstitutional. He testified that he was a believable anti-racist libertarian. In his own defense on Friday.
Rhodes was the first of five defendants indicted on sedition conspiracy charges in federal court in Washington, DC to testify.
The courtroom was packed during testimony, and Rhodes choked several times to discuss his family, veterans’ suicide rates, and other subjects highlighted by his attorney, Philip Linder. spoke directly to the jury and seemed very comfortable on the stands.
Rose explained to jurors that she doesn’t believe Trump or Joe Biden won in 2020 because the election itself was “unconstitutional.”
“I believe the election was unconstitutional and that made it null and void,” Rhodes testified. “There really can be no winners in unconstitutional elections.”
Rhodes told jurors that, as he saw, some states’ election laws were changed by “executive orders” rather than by state legislatures.
“Several states, especially the battleground states, have had new rules introduced in direct violation of state law,” Rhodes said.
Rose continued to focus on “everybody’s a computer” and other theories of voter fraud, instead of constitutional issues that need to be debated before “whether there is fraud on the ground”. Stated.
Rhodes did not elaborate on the specific laws that were changed. CNN has found no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election.
Prosecutors allege that Rhodes wanted Trump to stay in power and supported a “bloody revolution” for militia leaders to secure the presidency.
Rhodes told a jury on Friday that he had been honorably discharged from the military, studied law at Yale University, and turned his attention to what Rhodes called “the pinnacle of our constitution,” the Bill of Rights, which protected his civil rights thereafter. of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
A self-professed libertarian, Rhodes founded Oathkeepers in 2009 and testified to “reach out, change and inspire” people about the rights the constitution gives them.
Rhodes pushes back on what he sees as a narrative of the Oath Keepers being racist or white supremacists, with the organization traveling to various cities for racial justice protests and the group It claimed to have protected a “minority business owner” in Ferguson, Missouri.
“Frankly, we embarrassed the police,” Rose testified.
The Orth Keepers specifically ban members who “support the overthrow of the United States,” Rhodes argued.
In the first few weeks of an incendiary conspiracy trial against a far-right group, prosecutors have presented evidence that the Oathkeepers stockpiled weapons as part of a so-called rapid reaction force at a Virginia hotel on Jan. 6. Prosecutors claimed the five defendants intended to use these weapons in case Trump asked to block the transfer of power to Biden.
Rhodes told jurors that was not the case, claiming the QRF was set up at an event Oathkeeper attended to “respond in the event of an emergency.”
The Orth Keepers also used the QRF whenever they provided security, including at several events in Washington, DC.After the election, Rhodes feared Antifa would “attack the White House.” He said that left-wing groups threatened to “take Trump out” if the president refused to make concessions.
In November, Rhodes told jurors, “I was worried that this might actually happen.”
If Antifa tried to attack the White House, Rose said, “President Trump could use the Riot Act, declare this a riot, and use me and other veterans to defend the White House.” Stated.
No such attack in the White House occurred.
Rhodes plans to continue his testimony on Monday.