Today a federal jury returned guilty verdicts for January 6th Oath Keepers terrorist Stewart Rhodes and his fellow co-conspirators in the first seditious conspiracy convictions in decades.
A federal jury on Tuesday convicted Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes of seditious conspiracy for leading a months-long plot to unleash political violence to prevent the inauguration of President Biden, culminating in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.
The panel of seven men and five women deliberated for three days before finding Rhodes and a co-defendant guilty of conspiring to oppose by force the lawful transition of presidential power. Rhodes and all four co-defendants on trial were also convicted of obstructing Congress as it met to confirm the results of the 2020 election. Both offenses are punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
Rhodes, in a dark suit and black eye-patch from an old gun accident, watched impassively as verdicts were read for the defendants facing a 13-count indictment.
The indictment brought against Rhodes, 56, and other Oath Keepers associates in January was the first time the U.S. government leveled the historically rare charge of seditious conspiracy in the massive Jan. 6 investigation. He is the highest-profile figure to face trial in connection with rioting by angry Trump supporters who injured scores of officers and ransacked offices, forcing the evacuation of lawmakers.
Rhodes and followers, dressed in combat-style gear, converged on the Capitol after staging an “arsenal” of weapons at nearby hotels, ready to take up arms at Rhodes’s direction, the government charged. Rhodes’s defense said he and co-defendants came to Washington as bodyguards and peacekeepers, bringing firearms only in case Trump met their demand to mobilize private militia to stop Biden from becoming president.
Analysts called the outcome a vindication for the Justice Department.
“The jury’s verdict on seditious conspiracy confirms that January 6, 2021, was not just ‘legitimate political discourse’ or a peaceful protest that got out of hand. This was a planned, organized, violent assault on the lawful authority of the U.S. government and the peaceful transfer of power,” said Randall D. Eliason, a former federal prosecutor who teaches law at George Washington University.
“Now the only remaining question is how much higher did those plans go, and who else might be held criminally responsible,” Eliason said.
The verdict in Rhodes’s case likely will be taken as a bellwether for two remaining Jan. 6 seditious conspiracy trials set for December against five other Oath Keepers and leaders of the Proud Boys, including the longtime chairman Henry ‘Enrique’ Tarrio. Both Rhodes and Tarrio are highly visible leaders of the alt-right or far-right anti-government movements, and were highlighted at hearings probing the attack earlier this year by the House Jan. 6 committee.
There's at least some justice in all this. January 6th was a seditious terrorist attack, and some of the leaders have now been convicted as such on federal charges.
There's no pretending anymore that those involved aren't terrorists.
That includes dozens of sitting Republican members of Congress.