Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes has been sentenced to 18 years in prison in a landmark verdict for leading a week-long plot to keep former President Donald Trump in power, which culminated in far-right extremists attacking the Capitol. United States on January 6, 2021.
He is the first defendant convicted of seditious conspiracy to receive the final sentence, which will set the standard for a host of extremist-group sentencing to come. Prosecutors say Rhodes remains a threat to American democracy more than two years after leading a plot to forcibly block Trump's transfer of power to President Joe Biden after the Republican lost the 2020 election.
During a court hearing Wednesday, police officers and congressional staff members on Capitol Hill on January 6 recounted the physical and emotional trauma they still endure after engaging in hand-to-hand combat with rioters for hours or flee as mobs roamed the halls looking for lawmakers and then-Vice President Mike Pence.
Rhodes, of Granbury, Texas, was convicted in November of seditious conspiracy along with Florida chapter leader Kelly Meggs and four other Oath Keepers were found guilty of the rarely used charge during a second trial in January. Three of Rhodes' co-defendants were acquitted of seditious conspiracy but convicted of other crimes.
It was one of the most important cases brought by the Department of Justice as it has tried to show that the revolt by right-wing extremists like the Oath Keepers was not an impromptu protest but the culmination of weeks of organized conspiracy to overturn the election victory of Biden.
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