Indictment for attack on the Capitol: Serious allegations against “Oath Keepers” boss

Status: 01/15/2022 1:00 p.m

It will be a “bloody fight,” wrote the head of the right-wing “Oath Keepers” militia at the end of 2020. According to the indictment, he is said to have planned the storming of the Capitol and procured weapons. The verdict could become historic.

By Florian Mayer, ARD Studio Washington

The indictment against the right-wing extremist US militia “Oath Keepers” reads like the plot of a novel by Tom Clancy: On 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 accusation from the public prosecutor’s office. “The purpose of the conspiracy was to use force to prevent or delay the lawful handover of the presidency,” the indictment said.

“Will not progress without a civil war”

Rhodes, 56, a Texas ex-military man, a graduate of the renowned Yale Law School and blind in his left eye since an accident, is said to have planned the “Oath Keepers” attack on the Capitol in several encrypted chat groups from November 2020 to January 2021. The investigators evaluated hundreds of messages.

Rhodes, November 5, 2020: “We won’t move forward without a civil war. It’s too late. Prepare yourselves mentally and physically.”

Rhodes, December 11, 2020: “It will be a bloody and desperate fight. We will have to fight. There is no way around it.”

Acquired weapons and ammunition

Individual regional groups of the “Oath Keepers” are said to have planned attack strategies in a professional military manner. According to prosecutors, Rhodes is said to have procured a variety of weapons, military equipment and ammunition worth more than $15,000 by the beginning of January and brought them to the vicinity of Washington DC.

“Rapid response 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 demonstrators on January 6 and forcibly gained entry to the Capitol.

For Rhodes’ attorney John Moseley, however, these are all just empty allegations. The “Oath Keepers” were only there to secure the demonstration, which then got completely out of hand, he said in a CNN interview. 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 nothing bad happened on January 6th. But the defensive strategy will be: The “Oath Keepers” were not the ones involved.

Judgment could become historic

The prosecutor in Washington is convinced that they can prove the opposite. The indictment also shows that Rhodes was not in the Capitol. However, he is said to have asked individual teams to do so – not only on January 6th, but months before.

The investigating authorities are now tackling one of the major criticisms of the legal processing of January 6 in the USA, said Elliot Williams, former Deputy Attorney General under ex-President Barack Obama:

This suggests that the authorities may be building a larger and broader case around this conspiracy. That’s pretty important. Because many charges so far have been for trespassing or damage to state property and not seditious conspiracy.

If prosecutors succeed against Stewart Rhodes and his ten followers on seditious conspiracy charges, it would be a historic decision. The last conviction in the course of such an indictment was in the USA 26 years ago.

By force against the change of power – charges against Oath Keepers boss

Florian Mayer, ARD Washington, January 15, 2022 11:53 a.m

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