A jury has found four more Oath Keepers guilty of seditious conspiracy in connection with the January 6 attack.
On Monday, a jury found four Oath Keepers members guilty of planning to disrupt the peaceful transition of power from former President Donald Trump to Joe Biden in connection with an attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021.
On second trial, right-wing militia members Joseph Hackett of Florida, Roberto Minuta of Texas, David Moerschel of Florida, and Edward Vallejo of Arizona were found guilty of seditious conspiracy.
The four were convicted on two further conspiracy charges, plus hindering an official proceeding. Minuta, Hackett, and Moerschel, three of the four, were found not guilty of the most serious allegations against them.
The verdict on Monday follows the convictions of two other Oath Keepers, leader Stewart Rhodes and top deputy Kelly Meggs, in November on the same uncommon charge. In that trial, three further Oath Keepers were found not guilty of seditious conspiracy but were convicted of other offences.
During the six-week trial, prosecutors claimed that the defendant Oath Keepers conspired with other members of the right-wing militia organisation to storm the Capitol in an effort to halt the certification of the 2020 election results.
Louis Manzo, a trial lawyer and special assistant U.S. attorney, stated, “They talked together, they acted together, and they deleted together.”
However, the four Oath Keepers’ legal representation has claimed that the government “cherry-picked” material, putting together texts and videos in a way that would make their clients look the most culpable.
What exactly was the government’s case?
In its final statements on Wednesday, the prosecution stated that the four Oath Keepers on trial followed a “perverted vision of American history” that led them to the Capitol on January 6, 2021, when they attempted to prevent the certification of the 2020 election by storming the building.
The prosecution claims the conspiracy did not end there, citing evidence that the defendants intended to keep working to disrupt what would have otherwise been a smooth transition of power from Trump to Biden.
The events of January 6 were “simply a battle,” Manzo told the court. The goal of the conspiracy as a whole was to prevent a peaceful change of government.
What is meant by the term “seditious conspiracy”?
Legally speaking, a seditious conspiracy takes place when two or more people plot t
o “overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force” the United States government or bring war against it, or when they conspire to use force to oppose the authority of the government or to block the execution of a law. Seditious conspiracies can also take place when individuals plot to use force to block the execution of a law.
It is one of 57 federal crimes that fall under the terrorist enhancement legislation, and it carries a maximum term of 20 years in prison in addition to a fine that cannot exceed $20,000.
Before the convictions of Rhodes and Meggs on charges of sedition, the government had not been successful in obtaining a guilty verdict on the charge of sedition since 1995.
To what did the prosecution respond?
The defence contended on Thursday that the government had “cherry-picked” material to paint the defendants in a bad light, arguing that the prosecution had built its case on “selective evidence and threatening language.”
Minuta’s defence attorney William Shipley remarked, “This case is about a story in search of proof.”
Now let me explain you once more in a small brief. Must read this.
On Monday, a court found four Oath Keepers guilty of plotting to disrupt the Jan. 6, 2021, handover of power from Donald Trump to Joe Biden.
Roberto Minuta, David Moerschel, Joseph Hackett, and Ed Vallejo were found guilty by a jury of conspiring with fellow Oath Keepers to stop Joe Biden from being sworn in as vice president.
With this verdict, two Oath Keepers leaders have been found guilty of seditious conspiracy in connection with the January 6 attack on the United States Capitol. Stewart Rhodes, the group’s
founder, and Kelly Meggs, one of its allies, were found guilty of the unusual accusation in November. Three other members of the group were found guilty of additional criminal counts but not seditious conspiracy.
The most serious charge to come out of the attack on January 6 is seditious conspiracy. This charge requires the prosecution to show that the defendants intended to use force to prevent the implementation of a United States law. Since last year, the government has achieved 10 convictions for seditious conspiracy, including three additional Oath Keepers and a member of the far-right Proud Boys who pled guilty. At this time, five top members of the Proud Boys are on trial for seditious conspiracy. Among them is the organization’s national chair, Enrique Tarrio.
The Oath Keepers also amassed a sizable arsenal in a hotel in Arlington, Virginia, with the intention of using it in the event of a violent escalation. Vallejo stayed at the hotel, ready to transport the weapons to Washington, DC, but no one ever requested his services.
When the judgement was given, nobody in the group expressed any emotion. Tarrio’s mother, Nicole Reffitt, whose husband is serving a seven and a half year sentence for obstruction of Congress’ Jan. 6 proceedings, and Ashli Babbitt’s mother all sat in a row of the public gallery. Babbitt was a rioter who was shot and killed by a Capitol Officer while trying to breach the House chamber. They were also present earlier that day when defendant Richard Barnett, who is seen in iconic photos with his feet on a desk in then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office suite on January 6, was found guilty on eight crimes linked to the breach of the Capitol.