Oath Keepers leader Rhodes asks for time served sentence
▶ Watch Video: Four more Oath Keepers convicted of seditious conspiracy in Jan. 6 case
Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes is asking for a sentence of time served, after he was convicted of seditious conspiracy for what prosecutors argued was a violent plan to ensure former President Donald Trump remained in the White House, though he had lost the 2020 presidential election.
The Justice Department is seeking a 25-year prison sentence for Rhodes. A jury in Washington, D.C., convicted Rhodes in November for his role in the riot at the Capitol. Rhodes has been held in jail in Virginia since his arrest in January 2022.
Rhodes’ co-defendant and Florida Oath Keeper leader Kelly Meggs was also convicted of seditious conspiracy at the time, as were four other Oath Keepers at a separate trial.
Rhodes’ attorneys say his founding of the group and his military service should serve as a credit to his character.
“The character of the Oath Keepers reflects the character of the man who created it,” a memo filed Monday by Rhodes’ attorneys reads, arguing the group was created to assist in disaster relief and community protection.
Witness testimony and evidence presented at trial showed some members of the organization joined for various reasons before the events around the 2020 presidential election, ranging from disaster relief and community protection to advancing political goals.
But prosecutors said at trial the group’s planning and rhetoric took a turn leading up to the Capitol attack as some leaders, including Rhodes, sought to convey a message of violent resistance to the peaceful transfer of power. A former leader of the group testified last year his North Carolina contingent split from the larger organization after an alleged disagreement over exhorting violence in a crowd.
Prosecutors alleged Rhodes and his co-defendants planned ahead of the attack to oppose the peaceful presidential transition of power and keep Donald Trump in office, and sought to accomplish this by trying to interfere with Congress’ certification of the Electoral College votes on Jan. 6.
Rhodes, who graduated from Yale Law School, was alleged by prosecutors to be the “architect” of the plan, urging Trump to try to hold onto power and to invoke the Insurrection Act.
Rhodes’ sentencing is scheduled for later this month.
Last week, jurors on a different case convicted four leaders of the Proud Boys, another extremist group, of seditious conspiracy.