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Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes sentenced to 18 years for seditious conspiracy in Jan. 6 riot

The founder of the militant group Oath Keepers on Thursday orchestrated a multi-week conspiracy that led to supporters storming the Capitol to keep President-elect Joe Biden out of the White House after the 2020 election. was sentenced to 18 years in prison.

Stewart Rose is the first person to be indicted and convicted of sedition conspiracy in the Jan. 6, 2021 riots, and his sentence is among the hundreds so far in the Capitol riots. Longest sentenced to

This marks another milestone in the Justice Department’s massive Jan. 6 investigation. The investigation led to seditious conspiracy convictions against the heads of two far-right extremist groups. Officials claim they came to Washington ready to fight at all costs to keep President Donald Trump in power. .

Before handing down the sentence, the judge told the defiant Mr. Rose that he was a continuing threat to the United States, saying Mr. Rose “wouldn’t want democracy in this country to turn into violence.” It’s clear,” he said.

“The moment you are released, whatever it is, you will be ready to take up arms against the government,” said U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta.

Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rose was sentenced to 18 years in prison for his role in the Capitol riot.

The case was one of the most serious lawsuits ever filed by the Justice Department, which has sought to prove that the riots by right-wing extremists like the Oathkeepers were not sudden protests, but the culmination of weeks of planning. rice field. Overthrow Biden’s election victory.

Prosecutors allege Rose was the mastermind behind a conspiracy to coercively obstruct the transfer of presidential power, including a “rapid response force” team that would deliver weapons to Washington, D.C., as needed from a hotel in Virginia. He was seeking 25 years in prison.

Weapons were never deployed.

In remarks just before the judge handed down his sentence, Rhodes accused prosecutors of being politically motivated, pointing out that he never entered the Capitol and telling everyone else to do so. claimed not to.

Oath Keepers Founder Steward Rose
Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rose was the first to be indicted for the Jan. 6 attacks on the Capitol, making his sentence the longest ever served.

“I am a political prisoner and, like President Trump, my only sin is to stand up to those who are destroying this country,” Rose said.

For the first time in the Jan. 6 incident, Mr. Mehta agreed with prosecutors to apply stronger penalties for “terrorism” under allegations that the Oathkeepers sought to influence the government through “intimidation and coercion.” bottom.

In previous rulings, judges have dismissed the Justice Department’s request for so-called “hardened terrorism” that could lead to longer prison terms, but Mehta said that was the case in Rose’s case. .

Prosecutors argued that long sentences were necessary to deter future political violence.

U.S. Assistant Attorney Kathryn Rakozi said Rose repeated lies in interviews and speeches from prison that the 2020 election was stolen and said there would be another election in 2024. It pointed out.

Prosecutors said Mr. Rose had called for “regime change” in his remarks a few days ago.

Oathkeepers founder Stewart Rose
Lawyers for Stewart Rose argued that prosecutors were unfairly trying to make him the “face” of the Capitol Riot.

People “across the political spectrum” want to believe January 6 was an “outlier,” Rakoczi said. “I am not Rose defendant.”

Lawyers for Rose, who plans to appeal the conviction, said prosecutors were unfairly trying to make Rose the “face” of January 6. Attorney Philip Linder told the judge, “If Mr. Rose ‘had he been president, he could have gotten more Orthkeepers to come to the Capitol.'” rice field. He wanted to prevent Congress from certifying electoral votes.

“If you want to put the face of J6[January 6th]you’re going to put your face on Trump, the right-wing media, the politicians, everyone who has spun that story,” Linder said.

Another Oathkeeper, Florida chapter leader Kelly Meggs, who was convicted along with Rose in November, was due to be sentenced later Thursday.

January 6th Riot
A Justice Department investigation on January 6 resulted in the top leaders of two extremist groups being charged with sedition conspiracy.

Two other Orthkeepers were acquitted of sedition charges but were convicted of other charges and are due to be sentenced on Friday. And the other four members, who were convicted of sedition conspiracy in a second trial in January, will be sentenced next week.

The conviction was a major blow to the Oath Keepers. The Orth Keepers was founded in 2009 and has grown to be one of the largest far-right rebel militias.

The group recruits past and present members of the military and police to promote the belief that the federal government seeks to deprive its citizens of their civil liberties, and portrays its followers as defenders of oppression.

Rose’s ruling follows prosecutors’ pursuit of former Proud Boys national chairman Enrique Tario, who was convicted this month along with other leaders of a far-right group that prosecutors accused of another conspiracy to block the transfer of presidential power. can be predicted. .

The Proud Boys are expected to be sentenced in August and September.

Rose, 58, and other oathkeepers said they never planned to attack the Capitol or prevent Congress from recognizing Biden as winning.

The defense sought to seize the fact that the Orth Keeper’s message did not give a clear plan for the attack on the Capitol. But prosecutors said the Oath Keepers and others saw an opportunity to further their goal of preventing the transfer of power and took action when the mob began storming the building.

Messages, recordings, and other evidence presented at the trial show that Rose and her supporters are increasingly furious about the prospect of a Biden presidency after the 2020 election, and that they will use it to protect the country and themselves. It shows that they viewed it as a threat to their way of life.

In an encrypted chat two days after the election, Rose called on his supporters to prepare their “mind, body and spirit” for “civil war.”

On a conference call a few days later, Rose urged supporters to tell Trump they were “ready to die” for their country.

One of the Oath Keepers in attendance became so alarmed that he began recording the call and contacted the FBI, telling jurors it was “like going to war with the U.S. government.”

Another man testified that after the riots, Rose tried to convince Trump to deliver a message urging him not to give up his fight to stay in power.

Intermediaries told jurors there was an indirect way to contact the president, but taped the meeting with Rose and went to the FBI instead of relaying the message to Trump. Mr. Rose told the man at the meeting that the Oathkeepers “should have brought the rifles” on January 6th.

By Thursday, the longest sentence in more than 1,000 Capitol riots was 14 years in prison for a man with a long criminal record who attacked police officers with pepper spray and chairs as they stormed the Capitol. More than 500 of the defendants were sentenced, more than half to prison terms, and the rest to probation or house arrest.

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