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Oath Keepers leader and associates convicted of multiple charges in seditious conspiracy case

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The Washington, DC, jury was found guilty on Tuesday. Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes and associate Kelly Meggs of conspiracy seditious for their involvement in the Jan. 6, 2021 assault on Capitol Hill. US Capitol.

The jury was split on other charges brought against five accused participants of the militia’s right wing there were two convictions in the seditious conspiracy case was a major victory in the Justice Department and was called an act of vindication of the House committee that was investigating the protests. The historic trial of a criminal which was the first of three seditious conspiracies that are scheduled to begin in January was a crucial test for the department’s ability to hold the rioters of January 6 accountable.

The matter is never been made in the past century and one-half years that the statute and its predecessors have been in force. Through the use of it against the Oath Keepers, the department is saying that it views the breach in that part of the Capitol as a serious risk to the operations of the US government.

Prosecutors have argued they believed that the assault on the US Capitol was more than an ordinary protest by a group of people which grew out of hand and became a brutal attack on the place of American democracy, and an attempt to prevent Joe Biden out of the Oval Office by any means required.

“The FBI will always uphold the rights of every citizen who engages peacefully within First Amendment protected activities, but we, along with all of our colleagues will be continuing to prosecute individuals who took part in unlawful acts in relation to that January 6, 2021 attack at Capitol Hill in the US Capitol,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a statement released on Tuesday.

The Justice Department alleged that the Oath Keepers members comprised of Rhodes, Meggs, Jessica Watkins, Kenneth Harrelson and Thomas Caldwell – conspired to prevent an unconstitutional transfer of power from former President Donald Trump to Biden and conspired to take down Biden’s office in the US Capitol.

Jurors examined 10 accusations against the defendants, which included three conspiracy charges, including obstructing the certification of an electoral college vote and tampering with official documents. The defendants were found guilty of numerous charges. All 5 were found guilty for obstruction of an official procedure. The conspiracy charge of seditious nature has a maximum 20-year sentence in prison.

It is unclear the length of time each defendant will be sentenced to, since Judge Amit Mehta may impose an order that is longer than 20 years, or sentence them to much less than the maximum allowed.

Mehta told the court that four defendants which included Rhodes are expected to remain in jail. One defendant, Caldwell was in pretrial release.

Hearings on sentencing typically take place within 90 days of the time a decision is made.

Lawyers representing the defendants said they were disappointed by the verdict, but felt that their clients were given an honest trial.

“I am convinced that they were able to give us fair trials,” James Lee Bright who is an attorney for Rhodes spoke to reporters in front of the courthouse. Bright said, however, that he felt the decision “could be substantially different” in the event that the trial had been relocated away from Washington, DC.

In the courtroom

Kelly Meggs, Stewart Rhodes, Kenneth Harrelson, Jessica Watkins and Thomas Caldwellthe Marion County Sheriff’s Office/Reuters/Getty Image/Montgomery

When the verdict was read in the courtroom of federal courthouse the five defendants displayed no emotion. Rhodes was the one who created Oath Keepers in 2009, was seated at the court. Oath Keepers in 2009 and has been the leader of the group since then was sat with his head down and was making notes to one of his lawyers.

The prosecutor’s team celebrated with each other when the jury was dismissed however, they did not comment on the decision. The prosecution claimed that 57-year-old Rhodes was seen outside the Capitol on January 6 , acting as the character of a “general” when his followers smashed into the building.

Meggs 53, who is the head for Meggs, 53, is the leader of Oath Keepers’ Florida chapter and as per the government, was the leader of the notorious “stack” creation of Oath Keepers in the Capitol on the 6th of January. Harrelson 41, who is alleged to be Meggs’ right-hand man, served as Meggs the right-hand man that day.

Watkins took on her own group of militias within Ohio before she joined the Oath Keepers in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election. The prosecution alleges that the 40-year-old transgender woman has allegedly went to the Capitol along with Harrelson along with Meggs and was in coordination with Caldwell during the time leading up of the attack.

Caldwell aged 68, who has testified that he’s not an official part of Oath Keepers and was accused of helping in the formation of the armed quick response force stationed in the city of Washington on the 6th of January. Also, he hosted the Oath Keepers on their Virginia farm, according to the prosecution that he also was in contact in a way with Watkins during the disturbance.

Verdicts

The trial began over seven weeks ago, and included numerous messages recording audio and videos of defendants’ radical statements in the aftermath of Biden’s win in the 2020 presidential race and their actions as they walked across the Capitol areas during the riot.

Defense lawyers argued there was no uniform strategy among the group, and that the ultra-right Oath Keepers militia group only was present at an event called the “Stop the Stal” protest” at the moment of the protest to give information on security for speakers. They also claimed that the recordings of incendiary defendants were simply “locker rooms chat. “

Here’s a rundown of jury verdicts:

COUNT 1 Seditious conspiracy

Five defendants were accused of plotting to use force in order to stop the legal transfer of presidential power on the 6th of January.

Rhodes: GUILTY

Meggs: GUILTY

Harrelson is NOT GUILTY

Watkins: NOT GUILTY

Caldwell: NOT GUILTY

COUNT 2 The Conspiracy to Block any official proceedings

The defendants were all charged in connection with a conspiracy to block Congress from certifying Electoral College vote inside of the Capitol.

Rhodes Not Guilty

Meggs: GUILTY

Harrelson is NOT GUILTY

Watkins: GUILTY

Caldwell: NOT GUILTY

COUNT 3 Obstructing an Official Procedure

In addition to being charged of conspiring against an official procedure All were found guilty of committing the crime.

Rhodes”GULTY”

Meggs: GUILTY

Harrelson is a culpable criminal.

Watkins: GUILTY

Caldwell: GUILTY

COUNT 4: Conspire to stop an officer from fulfilling any duty

The indictment claimed that the five defendants collaborated together to “prevent through intimidation, force and threats… members in Congress of the United States Congress, from performing any of their duties,” namely, certifying the outcomes of the election in 2020.

Rhodes Not Guilty

Meggs: GUILTY

Harrelson is a culpable criminal.

Watkins: GUILTY

Caldwell: NOT GUILTY

COUNT 5 Distruction of Government Property and aiding and abetting

Meggs, Harrelson and Watkins According to the prosecutors, Meggs, Harrelson and Watkins were among a group that rushed into the Capitol’s Rotunda doors on the 6th of January.

Meggs: NOT GUILTY

Harrelson is NOT GUILTY

Watkins: NOT GUILTY

COUNT 6: Civil Disorder and Aiding and Abetting

Jurors looked into whether Watkins interfered with law enforcement officials when she was allegedly part of a group close to the Senate chamber, and pushed it against and yelled at police security officers in the chamber to guard the doors.

Watkins: GUILTY

COUNT 7 8 and 13 The Tampering of Documents

Rhodes, Meggs, Harrelson and Caldwell were all charged with being accused of deleting photos and messages from their phones and social media accounts following the 6th of January. Prosecutors also claimed Rhodes also instructed others Oath Keepers to erase messages following the riot.

Rhodes: GUILTY

Meggs: GUILTY

Harrelson is a culpable criminal.

Caldwell: GUILTY

The hearings for sentencing may take place within 90 days of the time a decision is made.

The defendants were convicted of multiple crimes and their verdict could involve a sentence that is more than 20 years. In contrast, the judge could be a decision to sentence the defendants to sentences that are far less than the most severe sentence permitted.

The judge Amit Mehta mentioned in the courtroom that 4 defendants, along with Rhodes are expected to remain in jail. One defendant, Thomas Caldwell – had been in pretrial detention.

Oath Keepers founder guilty of seditious conspiracy in Jan. 6 case

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