Leader Of Oath Keepers Found Guilty Of Seditious Conspiracy & Obstruction

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Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes has been found guilty of seditious conspiracy for his actions on January 6, 2021 after his federal trial by jury. He and four other Oath Keepers appeared in court today before a jury of their peers. Rhodes is the leader of the far-right militia group. The leader and one of his subordinates, Thomas Caldwell, were found guilty of seditious conspiracy (sedition) for their plot. Their sentence will be decades long. All five Oath Keepers were found guilty of obstruction of official proceedings, the peaceful transfer of power.

Three of the group Jessica Watkins, Kelly Meggs, and Kenneth Harrelson went inside the Capitol Building during the attack. But all of them violently tried to prevent the peaceful transfer of power in a deadly insurrection.

Seditious conspiracy involves planning and post-effort analysis. This was an attempt to overthrow American democracy. Much of Rhodes’ ire was aimed at Nancy Pelosi:

‘The Oath Keepers leader wished they had brought guns and strung up Pelosi while he was there.’

A group of MSNBC contributors discussed the case on Deadline White House with Nicole Wallace. 

Joyce Vance was a US Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama and one of the first female U.S. Attorney nominated by President Barack Obama. She said:

‘This was a strong sign for the DOJ (Department of Justice) led by (Attorney General, AG) Merrick Garland to move forward. Assessing Trump’s avoiding accountability. Can he beat the institutions and rule of law in this country? No man is above the law. Are our institutions able to handle this? It Gives a rare moment of optimism. For [the consequences of] obstruction of government proceedings.’

Andrew Weissmann was an Assistant United States Attorney who prosecuted high-profile organized crimes, Director of the FBI’s Enron Task Force, General Counsel for the FBI, and manager of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s task force. He suggested this conviction today:

‘It puts wind in the sails of the FBI, and weakens the spines of the other Oath Keepers and The Proud Boys. Do they want to roll the diced or plead guilty with cooperation to assist the government and reduce their fines?’

Glenn Kirshner is a former Assistant U.S. Attorney for Washington, D.C. and an NBC News and MSNBC legal analyst. He contributed:

‘Fox News smears and House Republicans denying events re-traumatized the injured officers. Screams of fake news. D. C. metro police officer Harry Dunn guarding the hallway to the Speaker’s Office. Today was justice for them.

‘The heroic police officer (Dunn) was also a victim. In sentencing, he can testify. [At one point] Dunn told the insurrectionists “You will not get by me.”‘

Kirshner added:

‘One of if not the most gratifying parts of the job is seeing vindication for the victims. There will be a record. The American system everyday citizens are called to jury duty listening to the office. At the end of the day, the public gets to decide. It helps to deter [similar acts] in the future. Many will not repeat this. And people see there is accountability for most. We see there are consequences to their actions. Makes us all safer in the long run.’

Anti-Defamation League Jonathon Greenblatt was Special Assistant to President Barack Obama, Director of the Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation, and is the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). He said:

‘The trial is about specific people, evidence, and crimes. And this is an urgent domestic priority. SPLD shows smaller groups come together and are easily dissuaded. They are very fearful, and guilty sentences deter them.

‘Although the sentencing guidelines are typically lighter, given the use of force and violence, they can expect up to 20 years in prison. This will also serve to deter those in their vein of thinking. It will make them, less likely to use violence and make certain communities are safer.’

Greenblatt saw this as “countering extremism:”

‘It’s an incredibly important verdict in armed militia since their founding in 2009. Putting Yale-educated Rhodes down. He attracted hundreds of active and retired emergency responders, police, and military. Rhodes thwarted the Constitution to stop the election. [His is the] largest armed militia group. Cutting off the head is significant.’

The deadly insurrection was an attempt to overthrow American democracy. Wallace said:

‘ Why don’t Republican leaders condemn racist comments? Trump is a six times loser who won nothing since 2016. It ‘s like a  D-list reality show at Mar-a-Lago. Elected officials have Twitter accounts. Why wouldn’t Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) say something? He would not even defend his wife, former Transportation Secretary Elaine Chow. ‘

The group agreed that this was a perfect time for House Speaker hopeful Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to push Paul Gossart (R-AZ), Marjorie Taylor Green (R-GA), Matt Gates (R-FL), and others of the reformed Tea Party out of the spotlight, according to the BBC. They claimed that those arrested for their involvement on January 6 were “political prisoners.” And Trump has promised to acquit the tried and jailed prisoners should he becomes president again.

Weissmann said:

‘That would be leadership. Racism, anti-semitism, and hate tears at the fabric that holds our democracy together. This would be a good time for a clean break’.

Eddie Glaub is the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University, Chair of the Center for African American Studies, and Chair of the Department of African American Studies programs. He added:

‘Republicans use Oath Keepers as bodyguards. Understand, banish loud racists to the margins. It Appeals to white fears and grievances as a way to gain power. no one is denouncing Stephen Miller. with his Ads against Democratic candidates. We Have to extract those people. Trump who he is and the folk who support him for he was.’

Glaub noted that hope was the solution:

‘I’m hopeful. Coming out of this verdict. Be hopeful when other R’s call them out. Find the hope. Otherwise committed to despair. [The Proud Boys’ verdict] spoke loudly and truthfully [and] put it right.”

Weissmann added:

‘[They tried to] obstruct official proceedings. Liz Cheney (R-WY) collected her evidence against Trump. And [the new Special Counsel] Jack Smith? Absolutely. He’s central to DOJ in both the January 6 and Mar-a-Lago documents cases. [This puts] wind in the FBI’S sails. The department does not have enough to get those who showed up on January 6. [For] justice, we need to get leaders.’

Kirschner commented:

‘[We] want to be working to the very top. Donald Trump and Mark Meadows. Win these charges. [Oath keepers can] Work with the government. The Oath Keeper leader was convicted of seditious conspiracy. He said that he was only there because Trump was going to be there. And they were waiting for him to invoke ‘The Insurrection Act.’

Glaub said that some of the Oath Keepers will be martyred. But it was important to go after the major actors. Other heads will come back, many of them. So we have to get to the heart of it — Donald Trump.’

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Then Glaub added:

‘I’m hopeful. Coming out of this verdict. Be hopeful when other Republicans call them out. Find the hope. Otherwise we are committed to despair.’

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Sentencing for the five insurrectionists will be coming in weeks.


Christie writes Gloria Christie Reports & Three White Lions Substack newsletters and a Three White Lions podcast available on Apple, Spotify, etc. She is a political journalist for the liberal online newspaper The Bipartisan Report. Written in her own unique style with a twist of humor. Christie’s Mueller Report Adventures In Bite-Sizes a real-life compelling spy mystery (in progress). Find her here on Facebook. Or at Three White Lions her book on Amazon Kindle Vella and the Gloria Christie Three White Lions podcast on Apple, Spotify, etc