Stewart Rhodes, the leader of the far-right U.S. Sworn Army, was sentenced to 18 years in prison for “sedition” this Thursday, the heaviest sentence handed down so far in connection with the 2011 attack on the Capitol.
Rhodes was one of more than a thousand people who protested in January 2021 in an attempt to, at the urging of then-President Donald Trump, prevent Congressman Joe Biden from announcing that he had been elected the December 2021 winner.
“He is a persistent threat and danger to the country,” said federal judge Amit Mehta in justifying the severity of the sentence handed down against the founder of the Oath Keepers.
“Seditious conspiracy is one of the most serious crimes an American can commit,” he added.
Sworn guards shared an arsenal of weapons during the attack on the Capitol by supporters of then-president Trump.
“You’re smart, charismatic and persuasive and frankly that’s what makes it dangerous,” Mehta said, dismissing Rhodes as “a political captive.”
The decision fell short of the 25-year-old government’s request, although Mehta accepted the argument that the decision to keep the Oath of Office would prevent President Biden from being equated with terror.
Just before the sentencing, Rhodes, dressed as a clown and wearing prison garb, defiantly defended his group and its actions in support of Trump.
“I am a political prisoner,” he said, comparing himself to the famous Soviet dissident Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. “My only crime is to stop those who are destroying the country.”
check on the trumpet
And the possession of arms by his own men in the outer part of the city, and the use of warlike equipment in the Capitol, shows a well-established degree of preparation and preparation for force.
Rhodes, 57, and Kelly Meggs, 53, the head of Florida’s Oath Keeper chapter, were convicted by a Washington jury in November of a rare charge of seditious conspiracy.
In the same trial, three other Oath Keepers were convicted of obstructing official proceedings, forcing a shutdown of Congress and forcing lawmakers and Vice President Mike Pence to seek safety.
During the trial, prosecutors said the oath-keepers “plotted an armed rebellion … conspiring to violently resist the government of the United States.”
The lawyers of Rhodia observed that the builder had never entered the Capitol, nor had he encouraged others to do so.
But Mehta dismissed that argument as a mitigation. Arguably the leader of the group of Rhodians.
“He graduated from Yale Law and is a pretty smart guy,” the judge added. He was the one who gave the orders. (…) they were there for him.
However, Rhodes’ lawyer, Phillip Linder, argued that his client was not responsible for the attack on the Capitol and pointed the finger at Trump.
“I think that what happened on the 6th of February is to be deplored,” but Rhodes insisted that he was not plotting a rebellion.
“It is necessary to see what caused this. (…) Who started the 6th of February?” “He (for Rhodes) was not the one who ignited that art of rhetoric.
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