Status: 01/15/2022 1:00 p.m.
It will be a “bloody fight”, wrote the leader of the right-wing militia “Oath Keepers” at the end of 2020. According to the indictment, he planned the storming of the Capitol and procured weapons. The verdict could become historic.
The indictment against the far-right American militia “Oath Keepers” reads like the plot of a Tom Clancy novel: In 48 pages, prosecutor Matthew M. Graves describes in detail how the “Oath Keepers ” and their leader and founder Stewart Rhodes Attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021 with military precision.
“Insurgent conspiracy” is the prosecutor’s charge. “The purpose of the conspiracy was to use force to prevent or delay the lawful passing of the presidency,” the indictment said.
“Will not progress without a civil war”
Rhodes, 56, a former military man from Texas, a graduate of famed Yale Law School and blind in his left eye since an accident, allegedly planned the “Oath Keepers” attack on the Capitol in several encrypted chat groups from from November 2020 to January 2021. Investigators assessed hundreds of posts.
Rhodes, November 5, 2020: “We will not go forward without a civil war. It is too late. Prepare yourself mentally and physically.”
Rhodes, December 11, 2020: “It will be a bloody and desperate fight. We will have to fight. There is no getting around this.”
Weapons and ammunition acquired
Individual regional groups of “Oathkeepers” reportedly planned attack strategies in a professional military manner. Prosecutors say Rhodes purchased a variety of weapons, military equipment and ammunition worth more than $15,000 in early January and brought them to nearby Washington DC.
“Rapid intervention troops” should then be able to bring the material from there to the Capitol. Coordinated by Rhodes, according to the indictment, the Oath Keepers then moved in military formation among the thousands of protesters on January 6 and forced their way into the Capitol.
For Rhodes lawyer John Moseley, however, these are just empty allegations. The “Oath Keepers” were only there to secure the protest, which then spiraled completely out of control, he said in an interview with CNN. The countless text messages from Rhodes and many other “Oath Keepers”? All taken out of context, attorney Moseley says:
We believe that the vast majority of text messages are misinterpreted. Not that anything bad happened on January 6th. But the defensive strategy will be this: The “Oath Keepers” were not the ones involved.
The judgment could become historic
The Washington prosecutor is confident they can prove otherwise. The indictment also shows that Rhodes was not on Capitol Hill. However, he reportedly asked individual teams to do so – not just on January 6, but months before.
Investigative authorities are today addressing one of the major criticisms of the January 6 judicial handling in the United States, said Elliot Williams, former Deputy Attorney General under ex-President Barack Obama:
This suggests that authorities may be building a larger and broader case around this plot. It is quite important. Because many charges so far have been for trespassing or damaging state property and not seditious conspiracy.
If prosecutors are successful against Stewart Rhodes and his ten supporters for seditious conspiracy, it would be a historic decision. The last conviction in such an indictment was in the United States 26 years ago.
By force against change of power – charges against the boss of Oath Keepers
Florian Mayer, ARD Washington, January 15, 2022 11:53 a.m.