The leader of the far-right group Oath Keepers, guilty of sedition for the assault on the Capitol | International

Stewart Rhodes, founder and leader of the far-right group Oath Keepers (Guardians of the Oath) has been found guilty this Tuesday by a Washington court of seditious conspiracy for his role in the assault on the Capitol on January 6, 2021. Kelly Meggs, also a member of the group, has also been found guilty of the same offence. The specific sentences will be handed down by the judge, but they may become the most serious imposed for the insurrection against Joe Biden’s victory over Donald Trump in the November 2020 presidential election.

The 12-member jury has been deliberating for three days since ending a trial that lasted nearly two months and finally convicting the 56-year-old Rhodes. The prosecution charged the leader of the Oath Keepers with the most serious charges for his actions during the January 6 assault, assuring that he was willing to take up arms to prevent the certification of Biden’s victory. The jury’s ruling is a clear triumph for the Department of Justice, although the jury has acquitted of that charge three other members of the Oath Keepers, a kind of paramilitary militia founded in 2009 and whose members frequently appear armed at political events. and demonstrations.

The seditious conspiracy charge requires prosecutors to prove that at least two people agreed to use force to overthrow government authority or delay the execution of a US law and carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. During the trial, the prosecutor has maintained that Rhodes and other members of his team had firearms in a Virginia hotel on January 6, 2021 and were willing to use them. The defendants denied the charges, but the prosecution showed recordings in which Rhodes regretted not taking his weapons to the assault on the Capitol and saying that he could have hung the speaker of the House of Representatives, the Democrat Nancy Pelosi, especially hated from a lamppost. by the ultra-rightists.

Rhodes, who wears an eyepatch from injuries he sustained when he accidentally shot himself in the face with his own gun, was charged along with other charges.

Until now, the most serious sentence had been imposed on Thomas Webster, a former New York police officer, who was filmed attacking a police officer with a metal flagpole on the day of the assault on the Capitol. He was found guilty of various crimes in May by a popular jury and in September he received the sentence: 10 years in jail.

A dozen other Oath Keepers associates were also charged with seditious conspiracy, the most serious charge filed by the Justice Department for the assault carried out by a mob of Donald Trump supporters. In addition to the five defendants in this trial, there are four other members who will sit in the dock next month. The prosecution has also brought sedition charges against the leader of another far-right group, the Proud Boys.

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