Oath Keepers Founder Among 10 Others Charged With Seditious Conspiracy in Jan. 6 Capitol Assault
The sedition charges are a critical first step in making the case that some events of the riot were planned, and did not occur in the heat of the moment.
The founder of right wing militia group Oath Keepers, along with 10 others, has been charged for seditious conspiracy in their alleged roles in the Capitol assault, the Department of Justice announced. These are the first sedition charges related to the January 6 insurrection, and come as a major development following a year-long investigation.
Oath Keepers leader Elmer Stewart Rhodes III, 56, of Granbury, Texas, was arrested Thursday afternoon. He is expected to be arraigned Friday afternoon.
Also named in the indictment was Edward Vallejo, 63, of Phoenix, Arizona, who was arrested Thursday morning on suspicion of coordinating teams of the Oath Keepers.
They, along with the nine others now facing sedition charges, are alleged to have plotted “to oppose by force the lawful transfer of presidential power” by recruiting, training and organizing members ahead of the Capitol Assault, and bringing weapons and supplies to Washington D.C. on the day of the certification, according to a statement by the Department of Justice.
Rhodes is alleged to have begun coordinating travel to D.C. on or around January 6 as early as December 2020.
While previous charges and convictions surrounding the Capitol assault were limited to rioters’ actions on Jan. 6, the latest sedition charges relate to the alleged conspiracy leading up to the event, and is a critical first step in making the case that some events of the riot were planned, and did not occur in the heat of the moment.
These are also the first charges Rhodes and Vallejo face in relation to the Capitol riots, while the rest of those named in the latest sedition charges also face earlier charges for their alleged roles on Jan. 6.
They are also among the approximately two dozen members or affiliates of the Oath Keepers that have been charged for their alleged role in the riots, according to CBS News.
The Department of Justice’s Attorney General Merrick Garland has previously vowed to hold accountable those responsible for the riots, “whether they were present that day or were otherwise criminally responsible for the assault on our democracy."
Vallejo's attorney said he intends to enter a not guilty plea and in the past Rhodes has said he has always stayed on the right side of the law.
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