High-Profile Oath Keeper Ordered To Jail Ahead Of Legal Proceedings


Magistrate Judge Kimberly C. Priest Johnson has ordered that Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes will be held in jail ahead of a hearing on his detention status that is slated for next week, on January 20. Just recently, Rhodes and 10 other individuals were charged with seditious conspiracy for their actions surrounding last January’s attack on the Capitol by Trump supporters. Rhodes was preparing for violence weeks before the Capitol riot unfolded; on December 11, 2020, for instance, he wrote in a group chat that if Biden took his rightful place as president, then “it will be a bloody and desperate fight. We are going to have a fight. That can’t be avoided.”

Notably, in the days before January 6, Rhodes also spent over $15,000 on various weaponry, including “a shotgun, scope, magazines, sights, optics, a bipod, a mount, a case of ammunition, and gun-cleaning supplies,” according to his indictment. Before the Capitol attack, individuals associated with the Oath Keepers stashed weapons at a hotel in the vicinity of D.C., with the intention that the items could be transported to individuals in the capital, although there’s no immediately apparent indication that anything Rhodes purchased went towards that arm of the operation.

The charge of seditious conspiracy comes with a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, if convicted. Although Rhodes doesn’t appear to have entered the Capitol building on January 6, he was in touch with individuals who did, putting the lives of members of Congress, staff members, journalists, police officers, and others in danger. He’s claimed that he was simply trying to keep people tied to the group “out of trouble,” but this claim doesn’t exactly appear to square up with his actions. The Oath Keepers are a violent, far-right organization whose members largely appear well off the deep end — Jessica Watkins, another person tied to the group facing charges for participating in the riot, messaged someone last January (before Biden’s inauguration) that “[we’ve] been organizing a bugout plan if the usurper is installed… Something like 20+ Oathkeepers going to Kentucky mountains on hundreds of acres apparently.” All of this constitutes the sort of dangerous delirium that Trump appears willing to accept.

Featured Image (edited): via Blink o’fanaye on Flickr and available under a Creative Commons License