Friday 28 January 2022

Judge Orders Oath Keepers Leader to Remain in Jail Through His Trial


A federal judge has ordered Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes to remain jailed through his trial.

The judge also ruled that Rhodes can testify before Congress under a House select committee subpoena.

Earlier this week, Rhodes pleaded not guilty to the charge of “seditious conspiracy.”

Rhodes, and ten other members of the organization, were arrested and charged with the extreme offense over their roles in the January 6 protest at the Capitol.

On Wednesday, Magistrate Judge Kimberly C. Priest Johnson of the Eastern District of Texas sided with the prosecution, who claimed that Rhodes was too “dangerous” to be released before his trial.

“It is the totality of the evidence showing Defendant’s leadership and strategic involvement in and advocacy for armed and violent actions against the federal government, combined with Defendant’s preparedness and ready access to weapons sufficient to carry out such violent activities, that presents a significant risk of harm to others,”  the judge wrote in her opinion.

Judge Johnson added that Rhodes had an “authoritative role in the conspiracy, access to substantial weaponry, and ability to finance any future insurrection, combined with his continued advocacy for violence against the federal government, gives rise to a credible threat that Defendant’s release might endanger others by fostering the planning and execution of additional violent events.”

“This is especially so given Defendant’s technical savvy, military training, and familiarity with encrypted communication,” she continued.

Attorneys representing Rhodes had argued that he is not a flight risk because he does not have a passport.

If convicted of seditious conspiracy, Rhodes and the others potentially face up to 20 years in prison.

“There is overwhelming evidence that Rhodes organized a plot to oppose by force the execution of the laws of the United States and that he possesses the willingness and capacity to continue to engage in criminal conduct,” Justice Department lawyers wrote while asking for him to be kept detained. “Under these circumstances, only pretrial detention can protect the community from the danger Rhodes poses.”

Rhodes’ attorney has said in a statement that the allegations are baseless.

“The bald-faced myth that anyone wanted to stop the certification is inexcusable,” attorney Jonathon Moseley said in a statement to The Hill. “The claims in the detention motion of Stewart Rhodes — which apply to other Oath Keepers as well like Kelly Meggs — are fiction. We know that the prosecutors know that what they claim is totally false. We have the documents. We have the videos. The prosecutors know that we know that they know that their narrative is a John Grisham novel, totally false.”

The DOJ claimed in a press release at the time of the arrests that, “the defendants conspired through a variety of manners and means, including: organizing into teams that were prepared and willing to use force and to transport firearms and ammunition into Washington, D.C.; recruiting members and affiliates to participate in the conspiracy; organizing trainings to teach and learn paramilitary combat tactics; bringing and contributing paramilitary gear, weapons, and supplies – including knives, batons, camouflaged combat uniforms, tactical vests with plates, helmets, eye protection, and radio equipment – to the Capitol grounds; breaching and attempting to take control of the Capitol grounds and building on Jan. 6, 2021, in an effort to prevent, hinder and delay the certification of the electoral college vote; using force against law enforcement officers while inside the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021; continuing to plot, after Jan. 6, 2021, to oppose by force the lawful transfer of presidential power, and using websites, social media, text messaging and encrypted messaging applications to communicate with co-conspirators and others.”

This case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Department of Justice National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section. The U.S. Attorney’s Offices in the Northern District of Texas and the District of Arizona have also provided assistance.

Over 725 people have been arrested for the protest, from every state in the nation.

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