Oath Keepers leader gets 18 years for US Capitol riot – Reuters

Prosecutors claimed Stewart Rhodes staged an armed insurrection on January 6, 2021

A federal judge in Washington, DC, sentenced Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes to 18 years in prison on Thursday, calling him a continuing threat to the United States. It was the longest sentence to date in the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot case, and the first for seditious conspiracy.

“You, sir, present a continuing threat and peril to this country, to the republic, and to the very fabric of our democracy,” Judge Amit Mehta told Rhodes during sentencing. “You’re smart, you’re convincing and you’re charismatic. Frankly, that’s what makes you dangerous.

Rhodes replied that he was a “political prisoner” and that he felt like the main character of Franz Kafka’s “Trial”, whose guilt was predestined. “My goal will be to be an ‘American Solzhenitsyn’ to expose the criminality of this regime,” he added. he told the court.

Prosecutors have requested at least 25 years, describing the January 2021 riot as a “brazen attack” who threatened the “the most important and vulnerable part of American democracy”. Mehta agreed with their claim that Rhodes had been a leader of the “insurrection” and agreed to classify his actions as terrorism, which significantly increased the length of the sentence.

“What we cannot have – we absolutely cannot have – is a group of citizens who, because they did not like the result (of the election), were then prepared to take up arms to foment a revolution, Mehta told Rhodes. “That’s what you did.”

An FBI informant embedded in the Oath Keepers had recorded Rhodes saying the group should have come to the Capitol armed and hanged House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “from the lamppost.”

Indian-born Mehta, appointed by Democratic President Barack Obama in 2014, has handed down the longest sentences so far in connection with the Jan. 6 riots. Earlier this month, he sentenced Peter Schwartz to 14 years in prison for spraying cops on Capitol Hill, calling the Kentucky man a “soldier against democracy”.

Democrats insist the events of Jan. 6 amounted to an “insurrection” against the U.S. government, a term last used for the Civil War in the 1860s. Thousands of protesters, who supported the president of the he Donald Trump era and believed the 2020 election was flawed, objected to Congress rubber-stamping the Electoral College results that declared Democrat Joe Biden the winner. At one point, some of the protesters broke through the security barrier and entered the Capitol building, disrupting the joint session of the House and Senate for several hours.

A month after the riot, Time magazine reported that Democrats told their activists to stay away from the Capitol and stay out of trouble, after “fortified” the election.


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