The founder and leading member of the right-wing militia group the Oath Keepers, Stewart Rhodes, is being charged with seditious conspiracy by the Justice Department in connection with the January 6 Capitol riot.
Rhodes, a 56-year-old army veteran, did not enter the Capitol building on January 6, but helped put the riot into motion, authorities said on Thursday. They said he was in direct contact with some of those who entered the Capitol building and allegedly threatened more violence. The right-wing leader is one of dozens connected to the Oath Keepers that has been charged by the Justice Department.
Rhodes and numerous others have been charged, but Rhodes’ sedition charge is the first of its kind against any of the more than 700 Capitol protesters that have been placed under arrest. Rhodes’ attorney confirmed he was taken into custody on Thursday.
Rhodes has denied directing the riot inside the Capitol building. He told the New York Times over the summer that some members of his group went “off mission,” but he gave no instructions to enter the Capitol.
“There were zero instructions from me or leadership to do so,” he claimed.
The January 6 House committee investigating the Capitol riot previously issued a subpoena for Rhodes and accused him of inciting violence from the Oath Keepers to “ensure their preferred election outcome,” claiming he told members to prepare for a “full-on war in the streets.”
Ten others were also charged in the new indictment this week, with Edward Vallejo and Rhodes being the only ones that had not been previously arrested. According to the Justice Department, 11 people are facing the sedition charge.
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