The Oath Keepers' Capitol riot trial, explained




  • In World
  • 2022-10-03 13:18:32Z
  • By Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - A trial starting this week in Washington, D.C., is the biggest test yet in the Justice Department's efforts to hold accountable those responsible for the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, a violent assault that challenged the foundations of American democracy.

On trial is extremist leader Stewart Rhodes, founder of the Oath Keepers extremist group, and four associates. Prosecutors and defense attorneys will make their opening statements on Monday and the trial will last several weeks. Here is a look at what's to come:

WHO ARE THE OATH KEEPERS?

The antigovernment group was founded in 2009 by Rhodes who was educated at Yale Law School and served briefly as a U.S. Army paratrooper before a training accident left him with a back injury.

The group was named after its stated goal of getting past and present members of the military, first responders and police officers to honor the promise they made to defend the Constitution against enemies. They issued a list of orders that its members wouldn't obey, such as disarming citizens, carrying out warrantless searches and detaining Americans as enemy combatants in violation of their right to jury trials.

That relatively benign framing and leveraging of social media helped the group grow to one of the largest antigovernment militia groups in U.S. history, but the internal dialog was often darker, experts said. Oath Keepers participated in the standoff with federal off with officials at Nevada's Bundy Ranch in 2014, and later along rooftops in Ferguson, Missouri after a grand jury declined to charge a police officer in the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

The group would eventually embrace then-candidate Donald Trump's rhetoric and his false claims that the 2020 election was stolen.

WHY ARE THEY ON TRIAL?

On trial with Rhodes are Kelly Meggs, leader of the Florida chapter of the Oath Keepers; Kenneth Harrelson, another Florida Oath Keeper; Thomas Caldwell, a retired U.S. Navy intelligence officer from Virginia; and Jessica Watkins, who led an Ohio militia group.

They have been charged with seditious conspiracy in one of the most high profile cases to come out of the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

Prosecutors say they spent several weeks amassing weapons, organizing paramilitary training and readying armed teams outside Washington to stop Joe Biden from becoming president. The plot came to a head on Jan. 6, 2021, when Oath Keepers wearing helmets and other battle gear were captured on camera shouldering their way through the crowd of angry Trump supporters and storming the Capitol in military-style stack formation.

Prosecutors will say that the insurrection, for the Oath Keepers, was not a spur-of-the-moment protest but part of a serious, weekslong plot to stop the transfer of power.

The Oath Keepers, for their part, say prosecutors have twisted their words and insist there was never any plan to attack the Capitol. They say they were in Washington to provide security and preparations, training, gear and weapons were to protect themselves against potential violence from left-wing antifa activists or to be ready if Trump invoked the Insurrection Act to call up a militia.

WHAT IS SEDITIOUS CONSPIRACY?

The seditious conspiracy law was enacted after the Civil War to arrest Southerners who might keep fighting the U.S. government. The charge has rarely been brought in recent history - with mixed results.

In this case, prosecutors will try to prove that Rhodes and his associates conspired to forcibly oppose the authority of the federal government and forcibly block the execution of laws governing the transfer of presidential power.

It can be tough to prove because prosecutors have to show the defendants did more than talk about using force, that they conspired to actually use it.

The last seditious conspiracy cases were filed in 2010, and those ended in acquittal. The last successful seditious conspiracy trial was in 1995, when Egyptian cleric Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman and nine followers were convicted in a plot to blow up several landmarks in New York and New Jersey.

It's punishable by up to 20 years behind bars.

COMMENTS

More Related News

Virginia Rep. Donald McEachin dies at 61; remembered as
Virginia Rep. Donald McEachin dies at 61; remembered as 'gentle giant' and 'valiant leader'

McEachin, 61, died Monday of complications from colorectal cancer. He is the fourth state representative since 2000 to die while in office.

Republican criticism of Trump builds after his dinner with a white supremacist
Republican criticism of Trump builds after his dinner with a white supremacist

Republicans in Congress criticized Donald Trump and denounced antisemitism after the former president dined with white supremacist Nick Fuentes and rapper Ye...

Trump ally Devin Nunes can sue NBCUniversal for defamation - judge
Trump ally Devin Nunes can sue NBCUniversal for defamation - judge
  • US
  • 2022-11-29 01:21:54Z

A U.S. judge on Monday said Devin Nunes, the former California congressman and an ally of former U.S. President Donald Trump, can sue NBCUniversal for...

Pence: Trump Should Apologize For Giving White Nationalist
Pence: Trump Should Apologize For Giving White Nationalist 'A Seat At The Table'

Trump "was wrong to give a white nationalist, an antisemite, and a Holocaust denier a seat at the table," the former vice president said.

Nick Fuentes is well known as a white supremacist and anti-semite. That hasn
Nick Fuentes is well known as a white supremacist and anti-semite. That hasn't stopped Trump and at least 5 GOP lawmakers from associating with him since 2017.

These controversial encounters have rattled the GOP with Kevin McCarthy and Mitt Romney urging other lawmakers to avoid Fuentes.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

  • Weed for sale
    (2022-10-03 17:27:34Z)

    buy real weed online
    You can be assured you are receiving some of the highest quality products available when you
    buy marijuana online usa reliable and trust guaranteed

    buy weed online here.
    Looking to marijuana for sale
    dankwoods here.
    slactavis here.
    I need a

    REPLY

Top News: World