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2 Members Of Far-Right Group Oath Keepers Found Guilty In US Capitol Attack Case


2 members of the far-right group found guilty in the US Capitol attack case

Two leaders of the far-right militia, Oath Keepers, were convicted for their role in the attack on the US Capitol.

Washington:

Stewart Rhodes, founder of the far-right Oath Keepers militia, was found guilty of mutiny Tuesday for his role in the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol by supporters for former President Donald Trump.

Another member of the Oath-Keepers, Kelly Meggs, was also found guilty of sedition while three accomplices were acquitted of the same charges, which carry sentences of up to 20 years in prison.

Rhodes, 57, a blindfolded military veteran and Yale law school graduate, and four other members of the group are accused of plotting an armed rebellion to overturn the results of the November presidential election. 2020 won by Democratic candidate Joe Biden.

The ruling limited a high-stakes trial to nearly two months.

Hundreds of Trump supporters have been arrested for their role in the attack on Congress but they face lighter charges than those against Rhodes and four other Oath-holders.

While Rhodes and Meggs’ convictions for sedition were rarely pursued, all five defendants were found guilty of obstructing a formal proceeding and other lesser charges.

During the trial, the Justice Department said Rhodes and the Oath Keepers “had drawn up a plan for an armed rebellion…conspiracy against the government of the United States by force.”

Prosecutors showed videos of the attack by dozens of group members dressed in military-style combat gear.

The defendants described the case as a political trial conducted by the Biden administration against supporters of his predecessor, Trump.

The 12-person jury deliberated for nearly three days before reaching a verdict in the closely watched case.

A not guilty verdict on sedition charges against all five defendants would be a setback for the Justice Department, which plans to try members of the Proud Boys, another right-wing extremist group , with the same crime.

– ‘Quit one’s job’ –

During the trial, prosecutors accused the Oath-holders of storing weapons at a hotel near Washington and participating in a mob that stormed the Capitol to prevent Congress from certifying their election victory. Biden.

Prosecutors said Rhodes did not personally enter the building but directed his followers like a field general.

Rhodes testified in the trial and denied that his group planned to attack the Capitol, saying they came to Washington only to provide security for the protests.

“On that day, entering the Capitol was not part of our mission,” said Rhodes.

In military terms, he admits that some of the Oath-Keepers had “fallen off duty” and entered the building.

He said Meggs, the head of the large Florida branch of the Oath-Keepers, was “an idiot” for bringing his men inside.

Rhodes told the court: “I thought it was foolish to enter the Capitol. It opened the door to political persecution against us. And that’s where we are.”

Prosecutors showed the jury text messages between Rhodes and his followers calling for action if Trump himself fails to act to prevent Biden’s confirmation as the next president.

US Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed a special counsel earlier this month to oversee the investigation into Trump’s efforts to overturn the election results and his role in the Capitol attack. .

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from an aggregated feed.)

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