Of the 900 criminal charges filed against the January 6 insurrectionists, a jury handed down the first two guilty verdicts for seditious conspiracy against the United States, to two Oath Keepers in a Washington, D.C. Federal District court.
The terms “treason” and “sedition” are thrown around fairly carelessly these days, but they are crimes with very specific definitions. In terms of sedition, it is defined as inciting people to "conspire to overthrow, or put down, or destroy by force the Government of the United States." The U.S. has not convicted anyone of sedition or seditious conspiracy since 1995, when prosecutors won convictions for seditious conspiracy against Omar Abdel-Rahman (a.k.a. the “Blind Sheik”) and nine others in the largely unsuccessful 1993 World Trade Center bombing attempt. No one has been found guilty of any sedition charges in the 27 years since.
Until Tuesday. As the Justice Department continues to prosecute Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol on January 6th, the New York Times reports that two Oath Keepers have been found guilty of seditious conspiracy. One of them is the founder and leader of the Oath keepers Stewart Rhodes, another is Florida’s Oath Keepers head Kelly Meggs.
The US Capitol Christmas tree was being lit by Speaker Nancy Pelosi as Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes was being convicted of seditious conspiracy in the January 6 attack on the US Capitol. Perfect.— Adam Parkhomenko (@AdamParkhomenko) November 29, 2022
“Seditious conspiracy is the most serious charge brought so far in any of the 900 criminal cases stemming from the vast investigation of the Capitol attack,” the Times explains. “It carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.”
Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes has been convicted of seditious conspiracy for a violent plot to overturn Democrat Joe Biden’s presidential win, handing the Justice Department a victory in its massive prosecution of the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection. https://t.co/GLXvcxeAIS— The Associated Press (@AP) November 29, 2022
On one hand, the Oath Keepers leader Rhodes was acquitted of two other conspiracy charges, and three other Oath Keepers were found not guilty in the same trial. But on the other hand, it is still a massive and historic victory for the Justice Department to get a guilty verdict on a sedition charge, the first such guilty verdict in 27 years, and the first conspiracy verdicts in all of the January 6 trials. And as NBC News adds, “All five defendants were found guilty of obstruction of an official proceeding and aiding and abetting for their actions on Jan. 6.”
NEW: Stewart Rhodes, the founder of the Oath Keepers. has been convicted of plotting to violently subvert the transfer of power from Donald Trump to Joe Biden.— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) November 29, 2022
He and four allies were also convicted of felony obstruction of Congress.https://t.co/AX1oe4WfKk
The Southern Poverty Law Center has a detailed profile on Rhodes, and he’s a piece of work. A former Army paratrooper, Rhodes attended UNLV and then Yale Law School. He worked for the Ron Paul 2008 presidential campaign, and then founded the Oath Keepers in 2009. He joined the Bundy Ranch standoff in 2014, and provided security for anti-gay marriage clerk Kim Davis in Kentucky. But his wife left him for allegedly choking their teenage daughter and waving a handgun around more frequently than she would have preferred. After the New Zealand Christchurch shootings in 2019, he went on Alex Jones to argue that the shootings were justified because of “Replacement Theory,” and argued that the 2020 election would be stolen by the Democrats' importing of illegal immigrants.
“This election was stolen and this is a communist/Deep State coup, every bit as corrupt and illegitimate as what is done in third world banana republics,” Rhodes wrote after the 2020 elections. “We must refuse to EVER recognize this as a legitimate election, and refuse to recognize Biden as a legitimate winner, and refuse to ever recognize him as the President of the United States. This election was stolen by corrupt, law-breaking Democrat partisans on the ground, and by the manipulation of the CIA.”
Rhodes has yet to be sentenced, but again, faces up to 20 years.
Image: SALEM, OR - JANUARY 06: Armed supporters of President Trump chant during a protest on January 6, 2021 in Salem, Oregon. Trump supporters gathered at state capitals across the country to protest today's ratification of Joe Biden's Electoral College victory over President Trump in the 2020 election. (Photo by Nathan Howard/Getty Images)