The Justice Department charged 11 people, including Stewart Rhodes – founder of the far-right militia known as the Oath Keepers – with “seditious conspiracy” for their alleged roles in the violent January 6 invasion of the U.S. Capitol.
BREAKING: Oath Keepers founder, 10 others charged with seditious conspiracy for January 6 attack https://t.co/8TPfPalTYo
— CBS News (@CBSNews) January 13, 2022
From CBS News:
Prosecutors allege he (Rhodes) and others conspired to storm the Capitol and interrupt the tallying of electoral votes in the 2020 election.
In total, 19 people were charged in three separate indictments unsealed Thursday. Eleven of the individuals face seditious conspiracy charges, while the rest face counts of corruptly obstructing an official proceeding and other charges.
“The seditious conspiracy indictment alleges that, following the Nov. 3, 2020, presidential election, Rhodes conspired with his co-defendants and others to oppose by force the execution of the laws governing the transfer of presidential power by Jan. 20, 2021,” the Justice Department said.
Seditious conspiracy, the most serious charge brought to date in connection to the riot, is a federal crime in the U.S. defined as “a conspiracy to commit sedition” and carries a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.
FBI arrests Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes as part of Jan. 6 investigation https://t.co/SrrTmI62nM
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) January 13, 2022
Prosecutors say that Rhodes exchanged dozens of encrypted messages and communications with members of the Oath Keepers group that invaded the Capitol building.
Over the past year, Rhodes has told the Washington Post that his encrypted communications, sent via the Signal message app, were merely his efforts to keep the group members “out of trouble.”