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DC Jury Finds Oath Keepers Leader Guilty of 'Seditious Conspiracy'

11-30-2022
capitolio

A Washington, D.C. jury has rendered a significant verdict in a case involving the January 6 Capitol riot.

Stewart Rhodes, leader of the group Oath Keepers, and associate Kelly Meggs, were found guilty of seditious conspiracy. The jury ruled they organized the violence at the Capitol in an attempt to stop the peaceful transfer of power after the 2016 election.

The prosecution argued the Oath Keepers were ready to use force, including assault weapons stored at a nearby hotel. They also presented text messages from Rhodes predicting a "bloody and desperate fight" and "a civil war."

The defendants testified that those texts were not to be taken seriously and they weren't planning any violence. And defense attorneys said prosecutors were twisting their clients' words. 

The Texarkana Gazette reports that Rhodes even took the extraordinary step of testifying at his own trial. "Rhodes took the stand to tell jurors there was no plan to attack the Capitol and insist that his followers who went inside the building went rogue," the paper reports.

"Rhodes testified that he had no idea that his followers were going to join the mob and storm the Capitol and said he was upset after he found out that some did. Rhodes said they were acting 'stupid' and outside their mission for the day," the Gazette explains.

But prosecutors played a recording for the jury of Rhodes saying, "If (Trump's) not going to do the right thing and he's just gonna let himself be removed illegally then we should have brought rifles... We should have fixed it right then and there. I'd hang (expletive) Pelosi from the lamppost."

In the trial, the jury cleared three other co-defendants of alleged sedition.

Edward Tarpley, an attorney for Rhodes, said, "It's a mixed bag. I mean there are guilty verdicts and not guilty verdicts running side by side. So this is not a total victory for the government."

"We feel like we presented a case that showed through evidence and testimony that Mr. Rhodes did not commit the crime of seditious conspiracy," Tarpley said.

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