the chief of the Oath Keepers, one of the leading far-right groups in the United States, and another ten people were indicted for sedition and conspiracy in the framework of the assault on the Capitol of January 6, 2021, the Department of Justice announced this Thursday.
Stewart Rhodes, 56, who founded and runs the extremist group, and another alleged participant in the conspiracy, Ed Vallejo, were arrested Thursday.
In a statement, the US Justice Department said Elmer Stewart Rhodes III, 56, of Granbury, Texas, was arrested in the Texas town of Little Elm on Thursday morning.
It’s about the More serious charges filed against participants in the Capitol assault and, if found guilty, may be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison.
This is the first time Rhodes is indicted before the Justice for the events of January 6, more than a year after the events occurred.
The Oath Keepers are a a loosely structured organization linked to citizen militias and, although it accepts anyone as a member, it focuses its recruitment efforts on ex-military, police and first aid personnel.
According to the Justice Department, Rhodes and the other defendants conspired after the US presidential election on November 3, 2020, which was won by the Democratic candidate and current president, Joe Biden, to “forcefully oppose to the execution of the laws that govern the transfer of presidential power”.
Thus, according to the indictment, the defendants coordinated among themselves through encrypted communication applications and planned their trip to the capital, Washington, for the day in which the electoral results were going to be ratified -January 6- in Congress bearing arms.
On that day, Rhodes and the rest of the defendants were part of a mob of supporters of former President Donald Trump who carried out a violent assault on the Capitol, which left five dead, and which offered unprecedented images in recent US history.
To date, the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia has filed charges against more than 700 people, residents throughout the US, for crimes ranging from physically attacking police officers to preventing them from carrying out their duties, including destroying government property and entering a building with restricted access.
The largest sentence issued to date – made known on December 17 – fell on a man who attacked police officers with a fire extinguisher and was sentenced to five years and three months in prison.
With information from AFP, EFE
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