Far-right Oath Keepers first to be charged with seditious conspiracy in Capitol attack


US Federal authorities have charged the leader of the extremist far-right Oath Keepers militia — as well as 10 other people — for their alleged roles in the Capitol riot. 

Key points:

  • Mr Rhodes allegedly warned his group to prepare for a "bloody and desperate fight"
  • The charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison
  • Nine of the eleven charged with seditious conspiracy were already facing other charges relating to the Capitol attack

Stewart Rhodes and 10 alleged members of the group were charged on Thursday with seditious conspiracy amid claims they conspired to oppose by force the transfer of presidential power to Joe Biden during the deadly January 6 attack on the Capitol last year.

The conspiracy allegedly involved the amassing of firearms and distribution to so-called "quick-reaction force teams".

Prosecutors said Mr Rhodes had warned his group to prepare for a "bloody and desperate fight" in the days leading up to the assault, when supporters of then-president Donald Trump tried to stop Congress from certifying his election defeat.

The charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

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This is the first time alleged participants in the attack have been charged with seditious conspiracy, which is defined as attempting "to overthrow, put down or to destroy by force the government of the United States".

"We are going to have a fight. That can't be avoided," prosecutors quoted Mr Rhodes as saying in a group message on Signal, an encrypted messaging app.

The Oath Keepers are a loosely organised group of activists who believe that the federal government is encroaching on their rights, and focus on recruiting current and former police, emergency services and military members.

Nine of the 11 charged with seditious conspiracy were already facing other charges relating to the Capitol attack. Members of the far-right Proud Boys and Three Percenters have also been charged with taking part in the attack.

The Oath Keepers believe that the federal government is encroaching on their rights.(AP: Manuel Balce Ceneta)

ABC/Reuters

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news



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