Washington (EFE).- The founder of the far-right group Oath Keepers, Stewart Rhodes, was sentenced this Thursday to 18 years in prison for leading the conspiracy to try to keep former US President Donald Trump in power.
This is the strongest sentence handed down so far against a defendant for the attack on January 6, 2021 against the US Capitol.
Before reading the sentence, District Judge Amit Mehta stressed that “absolutely” it is not possible to allow “a group of citizens, who just because they did not like the result of the elections or believe that the law was complied with as should, foment a revolution.”
“That’s what you did,” he said.
Right-wing support for Trump
On November 29, Rhodes was found guilty of conspiracy to commit sedition by a federal jury in Washington.
During the assault on the Capitol, which left five dead and more than 140 agents injured, Rhodes remained outside the building supervising the operation in which followers of former President Donald Trump (2017-2021) broke into the headquarters of Congress while the two were meeting. cameras to certify Joe Biden’s electoral victory.
Rhodes’ defense had tried to convince the jury that the armed groups of Oath Keepers that had been stationed in hotels around the US capital did not intend to prevent Biden’s confirmation, but rather to “react” in case Trump asked them to to intervene.
According to the far-right organization, the then Republican president could have made that request under an 1807 rule that allows the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces to ask citizen paramilitary groups to enforce the law.
The prosecution, however, considered that the members of the group planned to use force to prevent Biden’s confirmation, regardless of what Trump said.
Oath Keepers and urban militias
The Oath Keepers are a loosely organized organization linked to citizen militias that, while accepting anyone as a member, focus their recruitment efforts on ex-military, police and first responders.
The CNN chain recalled this Thursday that 22 people who were part of the Rhodes team already have convictions for various federal crimes by a jury or after having pleaded guilty.
Eight, including Rhodes’s co-defendant, Kelly Meggs, who will also be sentenced on Thursday, also have a conviction for “seditious conspiracy.” Meggs led a group of 14 people into the Capitol, where they divided into two groups of seven, one headed for the Senate and the other for the House of Representatives.