SPLC collaborates with the committee on January 6

The Southern Poverty Law Center is working with a committee on January 6 to track hate groups


Washington Of the more than 870 people accused in the att*ck on the Capitol on January 6, 2021, 17 were accused of a subversive conspiracy, the high crime of using force to prevent the peaceful handover of power by then-President Donald. Trump to Joe Biden.

Members of the far-right militia The Oath Keepers – including the group’s founder Stewart Rhodes – was accused of this crime, the most serious one that any of the accused grapples with on January 6. They will be the first group to stand trial for the indictment. The jury selection starts on Tuesday.

Rhodes from Texas; works with Kelly Meggs and Kenneth Harrelson of Florida; Jessica Watkins of Ohio; and Thomas Caldwell of Virginia will face Justice Department prosecutors with consistent experience urging judges and lay judges to convict defendants on January 6 at a hearing. Just one accused in the case of 6 January, he has so far been completely acquitted of the charges brought against him at the trial.

Oath Keepers members are accused of plotting to prevent Congress from certifying the results of the 2020 presidential election in support of Trump, traveling to the nation’s capital before January 6, and coordinating their movements during the riots.

The government argued, and will have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, that group planning, communication, and coordination were essential components of the chaos that occurred that day and would make it difficult for Congress to function legally.

Rhodes, who is not accused of actually entering the Capitol Building, and his co-defendants pleaded not guilty and made various unsuccessful attempts to dismiss the charges against them and delay the process for next year, even in the weeks leading up to the trial.

Accused in January of a subversive conspiracy, Rhodes, founder and leader of the group described as an anti-government extremist militia, it is accused of preparing the ground for its actions as early as November 2020, allegedly posting a “Call to Action” on its website.

Prosecutors said in the indictment that through December Rhodes’ rhetoric alluded to violence, allegedly sending a message to other Oath Keepers that if Biden took office, “it would be a bloody and desperate fight. We will have to fight.

Meggs and Rhodes allegedly posted in the news around Christmas 2020 that they would have to “scare” members of Congress to be successful, and a few days later Caldwell investigated a hotel in Washington, an area for group use, court documents say.

Prosecutors say the hotel organized a QRF, a so-called Rapid Reaction Force, storing weapons and other supplies outside Washington’s borders. And by January, Caldwell had allegedly mapped a route between the group’s hotel and the Capitol Building, according to court documents.

On the morning of January 6, after the defendants traveled to the Washington DC area, prosecutors said some of the group had left for the city donning combat gear and tactical equipment. Later, as the att*ck on the Capitol was underway and the group allegedly coordinated with messaging applications and radio, Rhodes referred to the rebels as “patriots.”

Two separate groups of Oath Keepers allegedly infiltrated the Capitol Building.

Meggs, Harrelson, and Watkins are accused of being part of the group that marched on the eastern side of the Capitol, eventually joining the crowd who allegedly pressed against law enforcement and later searched for House President Nancy Pelosi. Rhodes and Caldwell were allegedly on the Capitol grounds at the time.

A second group of Oath Keepers who allegedly violated the Capitol has also been charged with a subversive conspiracy and will be tried next month.

Prosecutors say Rhodes bought a firearm in the weeks after the att*ck and told others that he continued to oppose President Biden, including through the alleged use of “local militias.”

The accused have put up numerous defenses for their actions and deny the misdemeanor on January 6.

Some of the Oath Keepers accused of subversive conspiracy claimed they were not in Washington to att*ck the Capitol, but to ensure the safety of some of the more famous people in the ex-president’s camp. Text messages released April’s court filing revealed that they were asked to protect Trump’s ally Roger Stone and Stop the Steal rally organizer Ali Alexander.

“Ken Harrelson spent 569 days in solitary confinement in terrible conditions for a crime he did not commit,” said Bradford L. Geyer, Harrelson’s attorney, in a statement to CBS News: “We can’t wait to prove him innocent. false allegations. “

The House of Representatives Selection Committee examining January 6 will hold its ninth hearing on Wednesday as some defense attorneys have expressed concerns that the publicity surrounding the ongoing hearings could stain the jury and prevent a fair trial, and extensive evidence in the case could stop defendants’ lawyers from assembling an effective case for their own customers without much preparation time.

Rhodes, Meghan, Watkins and Caldwell’s attorneys did not respond to a request for comment prior to the proceedings.

Judge Amit Mehta, who was appointed to the federal jury in 2014 by President Barack Obama, will preside over the jury trial, which is expected to last several weeks. The judge said it plans to survey some 150 potential jurors to form a group of twelve qualified, impartial jurors to hear the evidence. He dismissed the defendants’ fears that finding an honest group of jurors would be difficult and rejected attempts to relocate the trial from Washington, citing the most recent January 6 trials that had taken place.

Following Mehta’s direction, the jury will be half-masked, meaning they will meet each day at an undisclosed location before being driven to court, entering through a secure door to avoid public and media attention. Like a jury in any other trial, they will be instructed to avoid media coverage of the trial and may not conduct their own independent research.

Since the indictment of a group of five people and their co-accusers of a subversive conspiracy, the Department of Justice has turned three people related to Oathbreakers, securing a confession and a cooperation agreement. One person, the leader of the North Carolina Other Wardens, William Wilson, told prosecutors that on the evening of January 6, Rhodes repeatedly pleaded with an unknown person on the phone “to tell President Trump to summon groups such as Oath Keepers for coercion.” to oppose the transfer of power ”.

If convicted of a subversive conspiracy charge, Rhodes and his co-prosecutors could face up to 20 years in prison.

Earlier this month, lawyer Kellye SoRelle, who led the Oath Keepers after Rhodes’ arrest, was arrested and charged with her own violation charges on January 6. She pleaded not guilty and denied the wrongdoing.

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