January 6 attack | Wanted 25 years in prison for founder of Oath Keepers

The Justice Department is seeking a 25-year prison term for Stewart Rhodes, founder of the Oath Keepers group, who was convicted of seditious conspiracy in what prosecutors described as a violent plot to keep President Joe Biden out of the House-Blanche, according to the court. Documents filed Friday.

Rhodes was convicted by a Washington, D.C. jury in November in one of the most high-profile cases filed during the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol, when a mob of President Donald Trump supporters assaulted police officers, smashed windows and temporarily halted Congress. Mr. Biden’s victory certificate.

Stuart Rhodes has been found guilty of planning an armed insurrection with members of his far-right group to prevent the transfer of presidential power from Donald Trump to Joe Biden.

Prosecutors have asked the judge to impose a quarter-century prison sentence, pointing out that Mr. Rhodes was convicted of several offenses – which also carry severe penalties – as well as seditious conspiracy, which carries a 20-year prison sentence.

They asked the judge to go beyond standard sentencing guidelines, arguing that the crimes amounted to terrorism.

Prosecutors wrote that the trial established that Mr. Rhodes “led a conspiracy to use all means necessary, including the use of force, to oppose the lawful transfer of power.” They said Mr. Rhodes “presents a present and unique danger to society and our democracy.”

“Using their prominent positions in and by affiliation with the Oath Keepers, these defendants played a pivotal and acquainted role in forcibly opposing the United States Government, breaking the solemn oath that many of them served as members of the United States Armed Forces,” prosecutors wrote.

Prosecutors are seeking prison terms ranging from 10 to 21 years for eight other Oath Keepers defendants convicted at trial.

The sentencing recommendations come a day after jurors in a separate case found four leaders of another extremist group, the Proud Boys, including former national president Enrique Tarrio, guilty of sedition conspiracy. The Proud Boys have been accused of a separate plot to keep Donald Trump in power by force after his defeat in the 2020 election.

Stuart Rhodes is expected to be sentenced on May 25. Mr. Rhodes’ lawyers have yet to provide documents indicating how long they will ask the judge to impose. They vowed to appeal his conviction.

Prosecutors built their case around dozens of coded messages and other communications in the weeks leading up to Jan. 6, showing Mr. Rhodes rallying his supporters to fight to defend Mr. Trump and warning them that they might need to “revolt” in order to defeat Joe Biden if Donald Trump did not act.

Hundreds of people were convicted of the attack, which wounded dozens of officers and prompted lawmakers to flee for their lives. However, Mr. Rhodes and his co-accused, Kelly Meggs, president of the Oath Keepers Florida chapter, were the first defendants on January 6 to be found guilty of sedition conspiracy.

Mr. Rhodes, who did not enter the Capitol, was acquitted of the other two counts of conspiracy, but was found guilty of obstructing Congress’ certification of Biden’s election victory.

The Yale Law School graduate and former Army paratrooper, who testified on the stand at the trial, insisted there was no plan to attack the Capitol and said the oath guards who did acted alone. Mr. Rhodes said the oath guards’ only assignment that day was providing security for Trump ally Roger Stone and other dignitaries during the pre-riot events.

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