After a two-month trial, Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes was convicted guilty of seditious conspiracy charges related to a scheme to assassinate US President Joe Biden in the wake of his 2020 election victory.
The prosecution claimed he was planning an armed uprising to prevent Joe Biden from taking over once Donald Trump’s presidency ended.
Rhodes was tried alongside four others for crimes committed during the Capitol Hill riots of January 6, 2021.
On Capitol Hill, three people—Jessica Watkins, Kelly Meggs, and Kenneth Harrelson—entered the building as it was under attack.
After a trial, Meggs was found guilty of seditious conspiracy as well. Jessica Watkins, Kelly Meggs, and Kenneth Harrelson were the three that entered the building when it was under attack.
The charges against Meggs and Rhodes carry a maximum punishment of 20 years in prison.
Seditious conspiracy charges were dropped with respect to Harrelson, Watkins, and Thomas Caldwell. They were all found guilty of interfering with a judicial or administrative action.
Prosecutors said that Rhodes led the rioting as “battlefield general.” According to a BBC report, he was convicted of tampering with records or procedures but found not guilty on two counts of conspiracy.
After three days of deliberation, the jury reached a verdict. Prosecutors in the case claimed that Oath Keepers members had hidden dozens of firearms in a hotel room in Virginia, just across the Potomac River from Washington, DC.
Rhodes encouraged the rioters’ supporters to “stand up in revolt,” according to texts he sent and received. Attorneys for Rhodes have stated their intention to challenge the verdicts.
Seditious conspiracy convictions in the United States have not occurred in approximately 27 years. Hence this is a historical event.
Ten Islamist terrorists were found guilty of plotting to detonate bombs at various New York City sites in 1995.
It was in 1954 that four Puerto Rican nationalists were successfully prosecuted for seditious conspiracy after they shot into the House of Representatives, injuring many members of Congress.
In the wake of the Civil War, the law was initially implemented to prevent residents of the South from rising up against the United States government.
A conspiracy to “overthrow, bring down, or destroy by force” the government of the United States requires proof of participation from more than two people.
Later this year, Proud Boys, a right-wing extremist group, will also face trial.