Guilty, Guilty, Guilty!

Former gun safety instructor who shot his own eye out, Stewart Rhodes, and and one of his senior minions, Kelly Meggs were found guilty of seditions conspiracy, while 3 co-defendants were found not guilty of that crime.

All 5 defendants were convicted of obstructing Congress. Both charges can carry a sentence of up to 20 years:

Stewart Rhodes, the leader of the far-right Oath Keepers militia, was convicted on Tuesday along with one of his subordinates of seditious conspiracy as a jury found them guilty of seeking to keep former President Donald J. Trump in power through an extensive plot that started after the 2020 election and culminated in the mob attack on the Capitol.

………

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, an inquiry that could still result in scores, if not hundreds, of additional arrests. Mr. Rhodes, 57, was also found guilty of obstructing the certification of the election during a joint session of Congress on Jan. 6 and of destroying evidence in the case. On those three counts, he faces a maximum of 60 years in prison.

………

Mr. Rhodes was convicted of sedition along with Kelly Meggs, who ran the Florida chapter of the Oath Keepers at the time the Capitol was stormed. Three other defendants who played lesser roles in the planning for Jan. 6 — Kenneth Harrelson, Jessica Watkins and Thomas Caldwell — were found not guilty of sedition.

Mr. Rhodes was also acquitted of two different conspiracy charges: one that accused him of plotting to disrupt the election certification in advance of Jan. 6 and the other of planning to stop members of Congress from discharging their duties that day.

Mr. Meggs, who led a group of Oath Keepers into the Capitol, and Ms. Watkins, who went in separately and was recorded on a digital walkie-talkie app, were both convicted of conspiracy to stop the election certification. Along with Mr. Harrelson, they were also found guilty of the count of conspiracy to interfere with members of Congress during the attack. All five were convicted of obstructing an official proceeding and destroying evidence in the case.

………

In between those remarks, prosecutors showed the jury hundreds of encrypted text messages swapped by Oath Keepers members, demonstrating that Mr. Rhodes and some of his followers were in thrall to outlandish fears that Chinese agents had infiltrated the United States government and that Mr. Biden — a “puppet” of the Chinese Communist Party — might cede control of the country to the United Nations.

………

On Jan. 6 itself, Mr. Rhodes remained outside the Capitol, standing in the crowd like “a general surveying his troops on the battlefield,” Mr. Nestler said during the trial. While prosecutors acknowledged that he never entered the building, they claimed he was in touch with some of the Oath Keepers who did go in just minutes before they breached the Capitol’s east side.

Even with the convictions, the government is continuing to prosecute several other Oath Keepers, including four members of the group who are scheduled to go on trial on seditious conspiracy charges on Monday. A second group of Oath Keepers is facing lesser conspiracy charges at a trial now set for next year, and Kellye SoRelle, Mr. Rhodes’s onetime lawyer and girlfriend, has been charged in a separate criminal case.

I hope that the judge throws the book at them.

--

--