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May 25, 2023 11:46 AM UTC

Oath Keepers Leader Gets Eighteen Years For January 6th

  • by: Colorado Pols
Oath Keeper founder Stewart Rhodes.

The Washington Post reports:

Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes was sentenced to 18 years in prison Thursday in the first punishments to be handed down for seditious conspiracy in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. U.S. prosecutors asked for up to 25 years in prison and the longest sentence by far in the rioting to deter future acts of domestic terrorism, arguing Rhodes played a significant role in spreading doubt about the 2020 presidential election and led more than 20 other Americans to seek to use violence against the government to thwart the transfer of power from Donald Trump to Joe Biden.

“These defendants were prepared to fight. Not for their country, but against it. In their own words, they were ‘willing to die’ in a ‘guerrilla war’ to achieve their goal of halting the transfer of power after the 2020 Presidential Election,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey S. Nestler wrote in sentencing memos for the prosecution team.

Prosecutors asked U.S. District Judge Amit P. Mehta to find that Rhodes’s actions were meant to intimidate or retaliate against the government, creating “a grave risk to our democratic system.”

In September of last year, a leak of the alleged membership list for the Oath Keepers paramilitary organization revealed nearly a thousand members here in Colorado, including law enforcement and at least two elected officials. By that time, the group’s connection to the January 6th insurrection at the U.S. Capitol had already made them politically toxic, and nearly everyone contacted by the press for appearing on this list explained that at some point in the past they realized the Oath Keepers were “too extreme” and had separated from the organization.

If they prosper, none dare call it sedition. But the January 6th insurrection failed. Now that the leaders of the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers have been convicted of seditious conspiracy to keep Donald Trump in office after losing the 2020 presidential election, the next logical step is charges against the higher-level conspirators. The January 6th Select Committee presented ample evidence of high-level contacts between the Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, and Trump operatives including Roger Stone and Michael Flynn. John Eastman, the University of Colorado conservative scholar-turned coup plotter, continues to provide legal representation to Oath Keepers even while proceedings to disbar him in California continue.

As unsavory a figure as Rhodes may be, he’s still just the low-hanging fruit of accountability for January 6th.


11 thoughts on “Oath Keepers Leader Gets Eighteen Years For January 6th

  1. The fact that Trump has said he'd pardon people like this if he were elected in 2024 should be disqualifying.  But his supporters will never care, and frankly, would probably support such pardons.  I'm looking at you Ginni Thomas, you christofascist

    1. There's going to be a whole series of the Oaf Keepers getting sentences.  As I understand it, all those convicted in the two trials will be sentenced this week and next.

  2. 14 Year Retrospective on the Oath Keepers. Josh Marshall at TPM.

    It seems like just yesterday that the Oath Keepers burst on the scene, baptized with Obama birther propaganda. I also point out that Rhodes is a graduate of Yale Law School. In other words he isn’t a random naive, misled ex-military guy… Seditious Conspiracy, indeed.

    Our first closer look at Rhodes himself came a few days later in a story by Jillian Rayfield – “Too Extreme For O’Reilly? The Man Behind The Right-Wing Group ‘Oath Keepers’” – that pivoted off an appearance by Rhodes on Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor.* Keep in mind here that less than a year after founding the Oath Keepers, Rhodes is being elevated into a primetime appearance on Fox News’ most popular show:

    “The Oath Keepers have some connections to the Tea Party movement, which itself has gained a lot of traction within the conservative movement. For one thing, Oath Keepers is part of the Friends for Liberty coalition, an umbrella group for such Tea Party-friendly movements as Glenn Beck’s 9/12 Project and the John Birch Society. Rhodes is even on the planning committee for the 2010 9/12 Project. …

    Also, notably, Oath Keepers has a booth at the ongoing CPAC conference in Washington, D.C., where they are handing out a DVD called “For Liberty: How the Ron Paul Revolution Watered the Withered Tree of Liberty” (the ties between the group and Ron Paul don’t stop there – Rhodes himself is a former member of Paul’s D.C. staff, according to his Oath Keeper’s bio page).”

    CPAC. Glenn Beck. The John Birch Society. Ron Paul. The point isn’t that all the ingredients were there for what became seditious conspiracy. It’s not as simple as a pinch of Ron Paul and a dollop of Birchers and a cup of Tea Party and presto you have a coup. Rather, the point is that conservatism in America, or what passed for it in its various manifestations, went off the rails more than a decade before the events of Jan. 6. Barack Obama’s election was, we all know, a catalyzing event. But it didn’t start there, and it certainly didn’t start in 2016 with the election of Donald Trump.

  3. It's federal so he will serve 85% of that sentence, or 15 years and four months! 


    Unless, of course, DJT returns to the WH and issues a pardon for this asshole.

    1. I'm not certain what the actual time will be.

       * sentencing is being done under the First Step sentencing reform.  That can knock off about 15% — the calculation is arcane.

       * that "good time" can be earned for activities taking steps to rehabilitation — and I'm not certain Rhodes will be willing to do the programs that qualify.

       * the "good time" can be revoked/forfeited for some behaviors.  Rhodes seems like a prime candidate for pushing the boundaries.

       * in First Step, there are some crimes that make the offender ineligible for Good Time — I don't know if any of the felonies that Rhodes is convicted of

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