On Tuesday, two senior leaders of the Oath Keepers were convicted of seditious conspiracy for their roles in the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol riots. The riot was an attempt to tip the 2020 election in favor of former President Donald Trump.
Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes and First Lieutenant Kelly Meggs were found guilty of the charges. The jury acquitted three other Oath Keepers – Kenneth Harrelson, Thomas Caldwell and Jessica Watkins – of seditious conspiracy.
Three Oath Keepers previously pleaded guilty to seditious conspiracy.
The verdict against Rhodes and Meggs was followed by a week-long trial and three days of jury deliberation.
The members of the far-right militia are among the few people ever charged with seditious conspiracy in US history. This is the most serious charge brought against the hundreds of people being prosecuted for their role in the Capitol riots.
In sentencing Rhodes and Meggs, the jury assumed they attempted to overthrow the government during the Capitol riots. The Oath Keepers tried to downplay their plans, claiming they were only present in Washington DC on January 6 to protect themselves from left-wing violence.
The jury dismissed Rhodes and Meggs’ argument. It is not clear what factors or evidence led the jury to acquit the other three.
All five were sentenced of additional costs.
Prosecutors produced internal communications, phone records and records to build the case against the men. Other oath-keepers also cooperated with the government and testified against it.
“They claimed to wrap themselves in the Constitution. Instead, they trampled on it. They claimed to save the republic, but they broke it up instead,” US Assistant Attorney Jeffrey Nestler reportedly argued in court.
Senior members of the far-right Proud Boys are also facing charges of seditious conspiracy over their alleged role in the Capitol riots. Her trial is scheduled for next month. A Proud Boy has pleaded guilty to the charges.
Insurgent conspiracy carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.
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*Initial publication: November 29, 2022 at 4:51 pm CST
Claire Goforth is a staff writer at the Daily Dot and covers all topics related to politics and technology with a focus on far right and conspiracy theories.
https://www.dailydot.com/debug/oath-keepers-stewart-rhodes-kelly-meggs-convicted-seditious-conspiracy/ Oath Keepers convicted of seditious conspiracy