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Oath Keepers Leader Is Sentenced to 18 Years in Jan. 6 Sedition Case

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  hallux  •  11 months ago  •  37 comments

By:   Alan Feuer - NYT

Oath Keepers Leader Is Sentenced to 18 Years in Jan. 6 Sedition Case
The sentence for Stewart Rhodes was the longest so far in the federal investigation of the Capitol attack and the first issued to a defendant convicted of sedition.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T




Stewart Rhodes, the leader of the far-right Oath Keepers militia, was sentenced on Thursday to 18 years in prison for his conviction on seditious conspiracy charges for the role he played in helping to mobilize the pro-Trump attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

The sentence, handed down in Federal District Court in Washington, was the most severe penalty so far in the more than 1,000 criminal cases stemming from the Capitol attack — and the first to be increased for fitting the legal definition of terrorism.

It was also the first to have been given to any of the 10 members of the Oath Keepers and another far-right group, the Proud Boys, who were convicted of sedition in connection with the events of Jan. 6.

For Mr. Rhodes, 58, the sentence was the end of a tumultuous and unusual career that included Army service, a stint on Capitol Hill and a law degree from Yale. His role as the Oath Keepers’ founder and leader thrust him into the spotlight and will now send him to prison for what is likely to be the better part of his remaining days.





At a dramatic, nearly four-hour hearing, Judge Amit P. Mehta chided Mr. Rhodes for seeking for years through his leadership of the Oath Keepers to have American democracy “devolve into violence.”




“You, sir,” Judge Mehta went on, directly addressing the defendant, “present an ongoing threat and a peril to this country, to the Republic and the very fabric of our democracy.”



As the hearing opened, prosecutors urged Judge Mehta to sentence Mr. Rhodes to 25 years in prison, arguing that accountability was needed for the violence at the Capitol and that American democracy was on the line.

Kathryn L. Rakoczy, one of the lead prosecutors in the case, told Judge Mehta that Mr. Rhodes had been calling for attacks against the government for more than a decade and that his role in the Jan. 6 attack was part of a longstanding pattern.

The Oath Keepers leader, Ms. Rakoczy said, exploited his talents and influence to goad his followers into rejecting the results of the 2020 election and ultimately mobilized them into storming the Capitol in two separate military-style “stacks” in a violent effort to keep President Donald J. Trump in office.




“It is conduct that threatened — and continues to threaten — the rule of law in the United States,” she said.




Ms. Rakoczy also noted that Mr. Rhodes had shown no remorse for undermining the lawful transition of power and continued to advocate political violence. Just four days ago, she said, Mr. Rhodes gave an interview from jail, repeating the lie that the election had been marred by fraud and asserting that the government was “coming after those on the political right.”



“It’s not going to stop until it’s stopped,” Mr. Rhodes said during the interview, adding that the country needed “regime change.”

As if to prove the government’s point, Mr. Rhodes — in an orange prison smock and his trademark black eye patch — gave a defiant address to the court, blaming the news media for demonizing the Oath Keepers for leading the Capitol attack. He also compared himself to the Soviet-era dissident Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and to the beleaguered main character in the Kafka novel “The Trial.”

“I am a political prisoner,” Mr. Rhodes said.

The hearing opened a week of sentencing proceedings for eight other members of the Oath Keepers who were convicted at two separate trials — in   November   and   January   — of charges that included not only seditious conspiracy but also the obstruction of a congressional proceeding to certify the 2020 election. One of Mr. Rhodes’ deputies, Kelly Meggs, who once led the group’s Florida chapter, was set to be sentenced later on Thursday.





The process for sentencing all the defendants began on Wednesday, when some police officers and congressional staff members testified about the horror they experienced on Jan. 6.




Several spoke through tears on the witness stand, describing lasting symptoms of post-traumatic stress and survivor’s guilt, particularly after many of their colleagues resigned and some died by suicide in the months after the attack.



“I am an introverted, depressed shell of my former self,” said Harry Dunn, a Capitol Police officer who encountered members of the Oath Keepers in the Capitol rotunda. When Mr. Dunn referred to the officers who were injured on Jan. 6 as “real oath keepers,” he shot an angry glance toward Mr. Rhodes and other members of the group in the courtroom.

In court papers filed this month, prosecutors dwelled on the importance of severely punishing Mr. Rhodes and his subordinates, stating that the acceptance of political violence was on the rise in the United States and that lengthy prison terms were needed to serve as a deterrent against future unrest.

“As this court is well aware, the justice system’s reaction to Jan. 6 bears the weighty responsibility of impacting whether Jan. 6 becomes an outlier or a watershed moment,” the prosecutors wrote. “Left unchecked, this impulse threatens our democracy.”





In court on Thursday, prosecutors persuaded Judge Mehta to increase Mr. Rhodes’ sentence by arguing that his repeated calls for violence against the government and his plan to stage an arsenal of weapons outside Washington in case of an emergency on Jan. 6 should be punished as an act of terrorism.




“This wasn’t blowing up a building,” Ms. Rakoczy said. But “organizing an armed force” and advocating “bloody civil war” came “pretty close,” she said.



The government had asked to apply the terrorism enhancement in four previous Jan. 6 cases, but judges — including Judge Mehta — had denied the requests each time.

From the outset of the hearing, Mr. Rhodes’ lawyers — Phillip Linder and James L. Bright — were constrained in their efforts to ask for leniency, unable to fully claim that Mr. Rhodes was remorseful or no longer presented a threat to the government, knowing that his stemwinder statement to the court was coming.

Mr. Bright decided not to say anything. When Mr. Linder spoke, he simply said that the government had tried to make Mr. Rhodes “the face of Jan. 6,” but that figures like Mr. Trump were more responsible for the chaos and violence at the Capitol that day.





In the end, Judge Mehta said he had imposed a harsh sentence because seditious conspiracy was “among the most serious crimes an individual in America can commit.”




He also scolded Mr. Rhodes, telling him that he had not been prosecuted because of his political beliefs but rather because he had “prepared to take up arms and foment revolution” simply because he did not like the results of an election.



“That’s what you did,” Judge Mehta said. “You’re not a political prisoner, Mr. Rhodes. You’re here because of your actions.”

The trial of Mr. Rhodes, Mr. Meggs and three other defendants — Kenneth Harrelson, Jessica Watkins and Thomas Caldwell — was a milestone in the Justice Department’s sprawling investigation of the Capitol attack. The convictions of Mr. Rhodes and Mr. Meggs on seditious conspiracy charges was the first time that federal prosecutors had won a sedition case since 1995, when a group of Islamic militants was found guilty of plotting to bomb several landmarks in New York.

At the beginning of the month, four members of the Proud Boys — including their former leader, Enrique Tarrio — were also   convicted of sedition   and are scheduled to be sentenced in a series of hearing in August.





Jeffrey S. Nestler, one of the prosecutors, opened Mr. Rhodes’ trial  by telling the jury that in the weeks after Joseph R. Biden Jr. won the election, the Oath Keepers leader and his subordinates “concocted a plan for an armed rebellion to shatter a bedrock of American democracy”: the peaceful transfer of presidential power.




In   closing the government’s case , Mr. Nestler declared that the Oath Keepers had plotted against Mr. Biden, ignoring both the law and the will of voters, because they hated the results of the election.

At the trial, prosecutors showed the jury hundreds of encrypted text messages by Oath Keepers members, demonstrating that Mr. Rhodes and some of his followers were in thrall to outlandish fears that Chinese agents had infiltrated the U.S. government and that Mr. Biden — whom they called a “puppet” of the Chinese Communist Party — might cede control of the country to the United Nations.

Prosecutors also sought to demonstrate how throughout the postelection period, Mr. Rhodes was desperate to contact Mr. Trump and persuade him to take extraordinary measures to maintain power.

In December 2020, for example, Mr. Rhodes posted an open letter on his website   urging Mr. Trump to invoke the Insurrection Act , a more than two centuries-old law that he believed would give the president the power to call up militias like the Oath Keepers to suppress the “coup” — purportedly led by Mr. Biden and Kamala Harris, the incoming vice president — that was seeking to unseat him.

As part of the plot, prosecutors maintained, Mr. Rhodes placed a “quick reaction force” of heavily armed Oath Keepers at a Comfort Inn in Arlington County, Va., ready to rush their weapons into Washington if their compatriots at the Capitol needed them.













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Hallux
PhD Principal
1  seeder  Hallux    11 months ago

A tad severe ... up here he would have been condemned to a daily hotdog, a rum n' coke, a beach chair in Cuba and weekends off from his wife. 'We' know how to punish folks!

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Junior Expert
1.1  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  Hallux @1    11 months ago
A tad severe 

The prosecutor asked for 25 years.  He showed no remorse for his outrageous actions.  Fuck Stewart Rhodes!

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
2  Kavika     11 months ago

He's lucky he didn't get what the prosecutor asked for, 25 years. 

Tough shit Stewart, enjoy your federal holiday.

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
2.1  devangelical  replied to  Kavika @2    11 months ago

meh, he'll end up in protective solitary. why we warehouse those that threaten our form of government with traitorous activities is inconceivable, especially when there's a chance that anybody considering a pardon for them is still breathing. people that have done less have gotten a cigarette, a blindfold, a severe case of lead poisoning before.

 
 
 
Ed-NavDoc
Professor Quiet
2.2  Ed-NavDoc  replied to  Kavika @2    11 months ago

Amen. I wish he had gotten the 25 years. The nut case deserved that at the very least. For some reason the guy reminds me the "Cyrus, The Virus" character.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
3  Trout Giggles    11 months ago

The guy who put his feet up on Pelosi's desk got 4 years. He's from NW Arkansas and the local news have been following his case fairly closely.

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
4  devangelical    11 months ago
Mr. Rhodes and some of his followers were in thrall to outlandish fears that Chinese agents had infiltrated the U.S. government and that Mr. Biden — whom they called a “puppet” of the Chinese Communist Party — might cede control of the country to the United Nations.

LOL, I read that here in replies from some low info people...

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
4.1  Trout Giggles  replied to  devangelical @4    11 months ago
I read that here in replies from some people...

I just formed my own conspiracy theory.

The ones at NT spouting that bullshit get their talking memos every night and make sure its splashed on here

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
4.1.1  devangelical  replied to  Trout Giggles @4.1    11 months ago

charlie kirk, seb gorka, and mark levin, all on christo-fascist radio.

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
4.1.2  Texan1211  replied to  devangelical @4.1.1    11 months ago
charlie kirk, seb gorka, and mark levin, all on christo-fascist radio.

You seem savvy about them.

Listen often?

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
4.1.3  devangelical  replied to  Texan1211 @4.1.2    11 months ago

yeah, I like to know what seeds are probably going to be on the trending article list here, before I wake up, and then eliminate them after having breakfast.

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
4.1.4  Texan1211  replied to  devangelical @4.1.3    11 months ago

I am sure they are happy you listen to them so often!

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Principal
4.1.5  Sean Treacy  replied to  devangelical @4.1.3    11 months ago
know what seeds are probably going to be on the trending article list here, before I wake up, and then eliminate them after having breakfast.

You spend your time worrying about articles are going to be on the trending list and devote energy to distorting it? 

Odd you'd admit that in public. 

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
4.1.6  Texan1211  replied to  Sean Treacy @4.1.5    11 months ago

What is really odd here is that I am a right winger and never listen to them, but a left winger does regularly!

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
4.1.7  devangelical  replied to  Sean Treacy @4.1.5    11 months ago

gee, I thought my fan club all knew what things I find highly amusing...

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
4.1.8  Texan1211  replied to  Sean Treacy @4.1.5    11 months ago

Delusions of grandeur, perhaps.

 
 
 
bugsy
Professor Participates
4.1.9  bugsy  replied to  Texan1211 @4.1.6    11 months ago

Most of them get paid to listen then come on sites like this to distort (lie) about what was said.

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
4.1.10  Texan1211  replied to  bugsy @4.1.9    11 months ago
Most of them get paid to listen then come on sites like this to distort (lie) about what was said

Well, that at least would make sense.

 
 
 
Ed-NavDoc
Professor Quiet
4.1.11  Ed-NavDoc  replied to  Texan1211 @4.1.2    11 months ago

That and/or has autographed photos of them./s

 
 
 
Ed-NavDoc
Professor Quiet
4.1.12  Ed-NavDoc  replied to  Texan1211 @4.1.10    11 months ago

Closet righties perhaps?

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
4.1.13  Trout Giggles  replied to  devangelical @4.1.7    11 months ago

I love how people in this thread are making you the subject.

They love you, Dev!

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
4.1.14  JBB  replied to  Trout Giggles @4.1.13    11 months ago

People? Are you sure about that?

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
4.1.15  Trout Giggles  replied to  JBB @4.1.14    11 months ago

lol

no comment

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
4.1.16  devangelical  replied to  Trout Giggles @4.1.13    11 months ago

I got the proof on my ticket list...

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
4.1.17  devangelical  replied to  Ed-NavDoc @4.1.12    11 months ago
Closet righties perhaps?

is that like store bought tortillas?

 
 
 
Bob Nelson
Professor Guide
4.1.18  Bob Nelson  replied to  Trout Giggles @4.1    11 months ago

I firmly believe that there are sites that supply hard-right (I would say "fascist" but NT does not allow calling fascists by their name) talking points, perhaps even by "push" messaging.

I know from personal experience that the Usual Suspects use NT chat to coordinate their actions here.

So "conspiracy" is real and present.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
6  Trout Giggles    11 months ago
 He also scolded Mr. Rhodes, telling him that he had not been prosecuted because of his political beliefs but rather because he had “prepared to take up arms and foment revolution” simply because he did not like the results of an election.
“That’s what you did,” Judge Mehta said. “You’re not a political prisoner, Mr. Rhodes. You’re here because of your actions.”

I'm glad the judge said that.

So....anybody still think they were "tourists"?

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
6.1  devangelical  replied to  Trout Giggles @6    11 months ago

$66K per year to store him at club fed [deleted]

 
 
 
Ozzwald
Professor Quiet
6.2  Ozzwald  replied to  Trout Giggles @6    11 months ago

So....anybody still think they were "tourists"?

1667955073682.jpg

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
7  Kavika     11 months ago

Stewart got 18 years there are 3 more to be sentenced on the same crime. I hope everone of those tourists gets a minimum of 18 years.

 
 
 
Tacos!
Professor Guide
8  Tacos!    11 months ago

Good riddance to an insane piece of shit. I hope his buddies all get the same treatment. I’m so sick of this back woods conspiracy bullshit. These people claim to love America, but their actions show they don’t believe in anything we stand for.

 
 
 
al Jizzerror
Masters Expert
9  al Jizzerror    11 months ago

Stewart Rhodes is NOT a fucking pirate so why the lame eye patch?

512

 
 
 
Ed-NavDoc
Professor Quiet
9.1  Ed-NavDoc  replied to  al Jizzerror @9    11 months ago

Maybe he thinks it makes him look like a manly man!

 
 
 
al Jizzerror
Masters Expert
9.1.1  al Jizzerror  replied to  Ed-NavDoc @9.1    11 months ago

When I create memes I often try to incorporate a grain of truth.

The stupid bastard actually shot his fucking eye out.

If you watch the whole video you'll find out the disgusting reason he had to quit wearing his glass eye and had to resort to the fucking patch.

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
9.1.2  devangelical  replied to  al Jizzerror @9.1.1    11 months ago

poor elmer, he's hoping his traitorous hero will pardon him when he gets elected again...

 
 
 
Gsquared
Professor Principal
10  Gsquared    11 months ago

18 years is pretty good.  25 would have been better.

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
10.1  devangelical  replied to  Gsquared @10    11 months ago

better yet, life or a hemp necktie. we've executed people for less ...

 
 

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