Oath-keeper Founder Stewart Rhodes arrested for his role in Capitol riots

Stewart Rhodes, founder of the paramilitary group The Oath Keepers, has been charged for his role in the January 6 Capitol riots more than a year after the failed uprising.

Rhodes, a 55-year-old military veteran and former attorney who founded the paramilitary group in 2016, was arrested on Thursday, his lawyer told The New York Times. Thursday’s arrest comes after charges were filed against at least a dozen other Oath-Keepers. Prosecutors allege the group was part of a broader conspiracy to recruit, train and prepare for an attack on the Capitol.

Jonathan Moseley, his attorney, told Times that he is still unaware of the charges against Rhodes – but note that FBI agents arrested his client on Thursday.

It also comes after the congressional committee investigating the January 6 riots issued a subpoena to Rhodes, along with former Proud Boys frontman Enrique Tarrio and First Amendment magistrate, a far-right, lower-ranking delegation do Robert Patrick Lewis.

The committee’s letter to Rhodes reads, “You have repeatedly suggested that Oath-Keepers should, or are prepared to, engage in violence to secure their preferred electoral outcome. ” It also quoted Rhodes urging his team members to “stock up on ammo” and prepare for an “all-out street fight.”

Federal authorities have described the Oath Keepers as “a large but loosely organized collection of [the] militias who believe that the federal government has been co-opted by a shady conspiracy that is trying to deprive American citizens of their rights” and who recruit a lot of military veterans, law enforcement and first responders.

Other oath holders charged in the conspiracy include Jessica Watkinsa 38-year-old former Army vet accused of recruiting members to “duels” to take over the Capitol; Thomas Edward Caldwellthe apparently 65-year-old leader of the Oath-Keepers; and Kelly MeggsSelf-described leader of the group’s Florida chapter.

The charges against Rhodes come months after the head of the Oath-Keeper in court documents described him as “Person One.” In a January 27 filing, prosecutors mentioned that “The Oath Keepers are led by Person One.” Prosecutors also referred to Rhodes’ claims that they were “Person One,” including a January 4 employment letter he signed.

Prosecutors have alleged that Rhodes not only had direct contact with members who were accused of conspiring to prevent Congress from certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s election victory – but even warned There could be more violence after January 6 if President Donald Trump doesn’t step up.

While Rhodes had previously denied his involvement in the riot, he appeared to act as a link between the Oath-Keepers and other far-right groups that would later join the attack.

At a December rally in DCRhodes warns of “bloody war” if Trump doesn’t invoke the Resurrection Act. In a video on the eve of the riot, Rhodes created a video on Facebook with other far-right figures. Among them were the leader of the PAC employing Proud Boys leaders, the “Vets For Trump” leader who is facing charges of bringing a gun to a Pennsylvania vote counting center, and Amanda Chase, a senator. Virginia congressman. who had previously appeared with the Proud Boys at a gunfight.

Court documents detail that the Oath Keepers discussed the plan in an encrypted chat group — titled “DC OP: January 6, 21” — at least a day before the incident. violence. The conversation included Rhodes, Watkins, Meggs, and two other Oath-Keepers accused of participating in the riot but not in the group’s plot: Roberto Minuta and Joshua James. (James allegedly protected former Trump adviser Roger Stone before storming the Capitol.)

In the group chat, the Oath Keepers discussed what weapons would bring to the siege, that hand-held radios would be used for constant communication, and that an arsenal of weapons would await outside. out of town in a “worse case scenario”.

"Beveel echt een C- of D-zaklamp aan als je die hebt", zou Rhodes in de groepschat tegen de leden hebben gezegd, verwijst naar een zware zaklamp die kan draaien als een club. “Opvouwbare wapenstokken zijn een grijs gebied in de wet. Ik neem er een mee. Maar ik ben bereid dat risico te nemen omdat ik van je hou."

During the siege, forcing dozens of legislators into hiding and eventually killing five, Rhodes texted the group that “Pence did nothing. As I expected,” according to previous court filings.

“All I see Trump doing is complaining. I see he has no intention of doing anything. So the patriots are taking it into their own hands. They had enough,” Rhodes wrote 10 minutes later.

After the riot, Rhodes texted the group: “Leaders check to make sure you have all members on your team. If anyone is missing, please post it here. Hours later, he sent the group a fiery speech comparing their concerted effort to that of the revolutionaries at the Boston Tea Party.

“Patriots entering their own Capitol to send a message to traitors is nothing compared to what would happen if Trump did not take decisive action now. It helped send that message to the HIM. He is the most important audience today. I hope he gets the message,” he added. Oath-keeper Founder Stewart Rhodes arrested for his role in Capitol riots

Terug naar bovenkant pagina knop