Right-wing Oath Keepers founder pleaded liable of sedition in attack plot against the US Capitol

Washington: There was a significant victory for the Justice Department on Tuesday when a jury found Stewart Rhodes, the founder of the right-wing militia group Oath Keepers, guilty of seditious conspiracy for last year's attack on the US Capitol. President Donald Trump's defeat in the 2020 election.

In the eight-week trial, Rhodes, a disabled attorney with a Yale Law School degree and former Army paratrooper, was accused by prosecutors of conspiring to use force to prevent Congress from certifying President Joe Biden's victory over Donald Trump. The allegation was made.

He was the most famous of five defendants in the major trial stemming from the deadly Capitol riots on January 6, 2021. , and Thomas Caldwell was cleared of the charge.

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US District Judge Amit Mehta presided over the trial. Three days were spent in jury deliberations.

One of the most famous of the nearly 900 people accused of the attack so far is Rhodes, who is blindfolded for accidentally shooting himself in the face with his own gun.

In 2009, Rhodes founded Oath Keepers, a militia organization with members in the US military, both active duty and retired, as well as in law enforcement and emergency services.

Its members have appeared, often heavily armed, at political gatherings and protests across the country, including racial justice demonstrations after a black man named George Floyd was killed by a white Minneapolis police officer.

During the trial, prosecutors alleged that Rhodes and his co-defendants intended to use violence to prevent Congress from officially certifying Biden's victory. Meigs, Watkins and Harrelson all arrive at the Capitol as they prepare for battle.

The defendants were charged with organizing a "quick reaction force" that, according to prosecutors, was stationed at a nearby hotel in Virginia and equipped with weapons capable of being moved quickly to Washington, D.C. if needed. .

The trial included testimony from fifty witnesses. In his defense, Rhodes and two of his co-defendants testified. Despite Watkins' admission that he interfered with police officers guarding the Capitol, he denied planning any attacks or trying to prevent Congress from certifying the election results.

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Rhodes testified before the jury that he had no intention of storming the Capitol and did not learn that some of his fellow Oath Keepers had entered the structure until the riot had subsided.

During cross-examination of Rhodes, the prosecution attempted to portray him as a liar by displaying page after page of his divisive text messages, videos, photos and audio recordings.

Rhodes expressed his regret for not bringing firearms to Washington on January 6, and claimed that he could have hanged Democrat Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the US House of Representatives, from a lamppost.

In addition to Caldwell, a disabled former US Navy veteran, Watkins, a transgender woman who left the US military after facing homophobic taunts, decided to testify.

Watkins expressed regret after admitting "criminal liability" for obstructing law enforcement inside the Capitol. At the same time, Watkins denied any plans to storm the building and claimed to have been "swept" into a crowd of excited customers buying discounted holiday gifts such as TVs on "Black Friday".

Caldwell attempted to downplay some of the inflammatory texts sent in connection with the attack. Caldwell, like Rhodes, refused to enter the Capitol building and did not formally join the Oath Keepers.

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According to Caldwell, some lines were taken directly from or inspired by dialogue from Bugs Bunny cartoons and films such as "The Princess Bride".

In December, four additional oath keepers will be charged with involvement in the seditious conspiracy. Former Proud Boys president Enrique Tarrio and other members of the right-wing movement will also go on trial in December on charges of seditious conspiracy.

 

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