(CNN) – Three members of the Oath Keepers and a fourth person linked to the far-right militia group were convicted by a jury in Washington, DC on Monday for their roles in the riot-related conspiracy January 6, 2021, Uprising.
The four men – Roberto Minuta, Joseph Hackett, David Moerschel and Edward Vallejo – have been accused of plotting to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory, a conspiracy that culminated in the attack on the US Capitol.
The convictions are another victory for the Justice Department, which brought the rare indictment against members of the far-right militia earlier last year. After a 10-week trial this fall, Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes and Kelly Meggs, a leader of the group in Florida, became the first of the group to be found guilty of seditious conspiracy.
A sentencing date has not been set, but all four defendants will be placed under house arrest pending sentencing, Judge Amit Mehta said Monday. They are not allowed to have firearms in their home, and all four will have restrictions on their phone communications and internet use.
The defendants on trial in that case were Minuta, a New Jersey Oath keeper whom prosecutors described as one of Rhodes’ “most trusted men”; Hackett, a suspected recruiter for the Florida Oath keeper who prosecutors say is adept at hiding his identity; Moerschel, an alleged part of the so-called pile formation that prosecutors said acted as a “battering ram” that pushed through the mob and into the Capitol; and Vallejo, one of the suspected leaders of the armed rapid reaction force, who prosecutors said had called for “guerrilla warfare” on the morning of January 6.
In addition to the charges of seditious conspiracy, Minuta, Hackett, Moerschel, and Vallejo were also found guilty of conspiracy to obstruct an official process, obstruction of an official process, and aiding and abetting, and conspiracy to prevent the removal of a member of Congress from official duties.
Hackett was found guilty of tampering with documents or procedures.
Hackett and Moerschel were found not guilty of destroying government property. Minuta and Moerschel were found not guilty of tampering with documents or procedures.
Jury deliberations in the case began last week after prosecutor Louis Manzo guided the jury through weeks of trial testimony during his closing arguments, telling jurors to ignore defense attorneys’ arguments that the four men were innocent because they merely followed Rhodes .
In their own closing arguments, the four men’s defense attorneys argued that their clients were not conspiring to stop a Biden presidency and said the administration’s fall did not constitute evidence of a plan to storm the US Capitol. The attorneys also repeatedly argued that not only was the government tampering with evidence, but that there was no evidence of conspiracy between the group, saying that while jurors might find their clients’ statements offensive, that was not a reason they to be convicted of conspiracy stop the authentication of the election.
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