Federal authorities on Jan. 13 charged and arrested the leader of far-right militia group Oath Keepers and 10 others with seditious conspiracy and other crimes in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
A grand jury in D.C. federal court issued an indictment alleging Oath Keepers founder and leader Stewart Rhodes and 10 others conspired to oppose by force the transfer of presidential power from former President Donald Trump to Joe Biden, including plans to breach the Capitol with weapons on Jan. 6, 2021.
According to the Justice Department, Rhodes and Edward Vallejo, who was also arrested on Jan. 13, are being charged for the first time for their alleged roles in the riot.
Rhodes is the highest-ranking member of any extremist group to be arrested in relation to the riot.
The Justice Department also said that nine others in the indictment already faced charges in connection with the riot.
According to the indictment, certain Oath Keepers members and affiliates breached the Capitol grounds and building while others remained outside of the city in quick reaction force teams who “were prepared to rapidly transport firearms and other weapons into Washington, D.C” to support the efforts of keeping Trump in office.
The charge of seditious conspiracy carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.
The Justice Department described the Oath Keepers as “a large but loosely organized collection of individuals, some of whom are associated with militias.”
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