Denver, Colorado 2022-01-13 18:32:25 –
Washington — Stewart Rhodes, the founder and leader of the far-right Oath Keepers militia group, and 10 other members or associates have been charged with incendiary conspiracy in a violent attack on the U.S. Capitol. Officials said Thursday.
These are despite hundreds of accusations already in a year since the Trump riots struck the Capitol to prevent President Joe Biden from proving his 2020 election victory. Was the first conspiracy charge charged in connection with the January 6 attack. 2021.
It showed serious escalation in the largest investigation in the Department of Justice’s history, with more than 700 people arrested and charged with federal crime. It also highlighted the task of connecting the most complex incidents. The indictment should not have been so violent, as no one has yet been charged with sedition or treason, partially refuting the growing chorus of Republican lawmakers who openly challenged the seriousness of the rebellion. Insisted.
The indictment alleges that Oath Keepers tried to overturn the election results and discussed preparing for the siege by purchasing weapons and planning combat. As Rhodes wrote in one text, they repeatedly chatted about the potential and need for violence. And on January 6, the complaint alleges that it broke through police barriers, broke windows, injured dozens of police officers, and entered the Capitol building with a large crowd of riots that ran lawmakers. ..
Authorities say the Oath Keepers and their associates worked as if they were going to war, discussing weapons and training. A few days before the attack, a defendant proposed in a text message to carry a boat across the Potomac River to carry weapons to “waiting weapons,” prosecutors say.
Officials said on January 6, several members in camouflaged combat uniforms were seen passing through the crowd and heading for the camera on their way into the Capitol in an army-style stack formation. I did.
The indictment against Rhodes alleges that Oath Keepers formed two teams, or “stacks,” and entered the Capitol. The first stack was split within the building, tracking the House of Representatives and the Senate separately. According to the indictment, the second stack confronted an officer in the Capitol Rotunda. Outside Washington, Oath Keepers had deployed two “quick reaction forces” with guns that “supported plans to prevent legal transfer of power,” according to the indictment.
Rhodes, 56, from Granbury, Texas, is a top member of a radical group arrested in a deadly siege. He and Edward Vallejo, 63, of Phoenix, Arizona, were arrested Thursday. The other nine were already facing criminal accusations related to the attack.
Incitement charges are difficult to win and are rarely used, but compared to the other conspiracy charges 5, defendants face severe imprisonment of 20 years if convicted. U.S. prosecutors last raised such a sedition conspiracy in 2010 on suspicion of a Michigan conspiracy by members of the Hutaree militia to instigate a rebellion against the government. However, the judge was acquitted in a 2012 trial on charges of incitement conspiracy, and the prosecutor was overly dependent on the hateful diabetes protected by Article 1 of the Constitutional Amendment, as needed. Said that the accused did not prove that he had a detailed plan for the rebellion.
Among the last successful convictions against the sedition plot, it is now almost forgotten when four Puerto Rican Nationalist Party members fired on the floor of the House of Representatives in 1954, injuring five representatives. It originated from the attack on the Capitol.
Most of the hundreds of people charged with violence face low-level crime. More than 150 people have been charged with assaulting police officers in the Capitol. More than 50 people have been charged with conspiracy, most of them associated with the far-right Proud Boys and the rebel Oath Keepers. No sedition has been filed against Proud Boys.
Rhodes did not enter the Capitol on January 6, but has been accused of helping to initiate violence. Jonathan Moseley, a lawyer who said he represented Rhodes, said Rhodes was supposed to testify before a House committee investigating the riots at the testimony on January 6, but was canceled. rice field.
“He has been exposed to a lot of suspicions about why he wasn’t charged,” Moseley said in a riot on January 6. “I don’t know if this is in response to those discussions, but I think it’s a shame. It’s a rare situation.”
Kellye SoRelle, the second lawyer representing the group, said she later issued a statement that Mosley did not represent Rhodes.
Rhodes said in an interview with a right-wing host that he had no plans to attack the Capitol and that members were fraudulent. However, he continues to lie that the 2020 elections have been stolen, and posts on the Oath Keepers website describe the group as a victim of political persecution.
Other defendants in the plot argued in court that the only plan was to provide security at the rally before the riots or to protect themselves from possible attacks from far-left anti-fa activists.
Rhodes, a former U.S. paratrooper graduate of Yale Law School, founded Oath Keepers in 2009. Right-wing militant groups are recruiting current and former military, police, and first responders. Some of the arrested are veterans.
Rhodes has appeared in court documents for conspiracy cases as “Person One” for several months.
Authorities say he called GoToMeeting a few days after the election and told his followers to go to Washington and let President Donald Trump know that “people are behind him.” Rhodes told members that they should be prepared to fight Antifa, and that some Oath Keepers should “stay outside” and “prepare to arm” if necessary.
“We will defend the president, who is the officially elected president, and we call on him to do what is necessary to save our country, because if you do. If you’re not a man, you’ll be in a bloody, bloody civil war, and a bloody state-you can call it a rebellion, or you can call it a war or a battle. ” According to Rhodes.
Authorities said Rhodes was part of an encrypted signal chat with Oath Keepers in multiple states until January 6, called “DC OP: January 6, 21”, and the group called “DC OP: January 6, 21” that day. He said he showed that he was “activating the plan to use power.”
On the afternoon of the 6th, officials say Rhodes told the group about the signal. I don’t think he’s going to do anything. Therefore, patriots are taking it in their hands. They had enough. “
At around 2:30 pm, officials said Rhodes made a 97-second call with Kelly Meggs, the reputed leader of the group’s Florida branch, which was part of an army-style stack. About 10 minutes later, Rhodes sent the group a photo showing the southeastern side of the Capitol, captioned “South of the US Capitol.” Patriots throbbing the door. Around the same time, people in the stack formation were forced into the Capitol, prosecutors say.
Rhodes was arrested in Little Elm, about 35 miles north of Dallas. He was booked at the Collin County Detention Center, and a deputy sheriff said he was arrested by a federal agent and local prison officials could not talk to reporters about Rhodes.
He was expected to appear in court on Friday in Texas.
More than 70 defendants remain in custody on suspicion of riots. As of January 11, at least 183 defendants have been found guilty of riot-related charges.
Associated Press writers Jacques Billeaud of Phoenix, Jake Bleiberg of Dallas, Lindsay Whitehurst of Salt Lake City, Nomaan Merchant of Washington, Eric Tucker and Michael Kunzelman contributed to this report.
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