US indicts founder of Oath Keepers for Jan 6 Capitol riot

i24NEWS - AFP

2 min read
Riot police prepare to move demonstrators away from the US Capitol in Washington DC, US, on January 6, 2021.
Brendan Smialowski/AFPRiot police prepare to move demonstrators away from the US Capitol in Washington DC, US, on January 6, 2021.

The US Justice Department says Oath Keeper members 'forcibly entered the Capitol on January 6, 2021'

The founder of the far-right group Oath Keepers and ten others were indicted for seditious conspiracy in the January 6, 2021 assault on the United States Capitol, the US Justice Department announced on Thursday.

Stewart Rhodes, 56, who founded and led the extremist group, and another alleged member of the conspiracy, Ed Vallejo, were arrested early Thursday.

If found guilty, they could face up to 20 years in prison - the statutory maximum penalty for seditious conspiracy.

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The Oath Keepers are a far-right organization said to “explicitly focus on recruiting current and former military, law enforcement and first-responder personnel” for membership in the group.

“Members and affiliates of the Oath Keepers were among the individuals and groups who forcibly entered the Capitol on January 6, 2021,” a press release from the Justice Department said.

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Those indicted allegedly trained members in paramilitary combat tactics, brought paramilitary gear and weapons to the US Capitol, attacked the building’s law enforcement officers, and conspired against the transfer of presidential power to President Joe Biden.

“The seditious conspiracy indictment alleges that… Rhodes conspired with his co-defendants and others to oppose by force the execution of the laws governing the transfer of presidential power by January 20, 2021,” the press release explained.