Oath Keepers leader arrested in North Texas, among 11 charged in Jan. 6 Capitol attack


Oath Keepers chief arrested in North Texas, amongst 11 charged in Jan. 6 Capitol assault: Oath Keeper founder Stewart Rhodes has been charged with “seditious conspiracy” over Jan. 6. plot. “The aim of the conspiracy,” the indictment alleges, “was to oppose the lawful switch of presidential energy by pressure.” Rhodes was arrested Thursday in Texas.

The indictment (embedded under) prices that Rhodes and 10 different co-conspirators “coordinated journey throughout the nation to enter Washington, D.C., geared up themselves with quite a lot of weapons, donned fight and tactical gear, and had been ready to reply Rhodes’s name to take up arms at Rhodes’s path.”

Whereas portray Rhodes because the ringleader, the indictment alleges that “some co-conspirators additionally amassed firearms on the outskirts of Washington, D.C., distributed them amongst ‘fast response pressure’ (‘QRF’) groups, and deliberate to make use of the firearms in help of their plot to cease the lawful switch of presidential energy.”

At Rhodes’ preliminary court docket listening to, on Jan. 14 at a federal courthouse in Plano, Texas, the federal government requested for the militia chief to be held with out bail. He’ll stay in custody pending a detention listening to scheduled for Jan. 20.

The arrest of Rhodes represents a major escalation by federal prosecutors — concentrating on the top of the Oath Keepers, not simply particular person members — and upping the ante by way of legal prices. “Seditious conspiracy” is outlined as a plot to “overthrow, put down, or to destroy by pressure the Authorities of america” and carries a jail time period of as much as 20 years. That is the primary time sedition prices have been levied towards contributors within the Jan. 6 insurgency.

The indictment consists of alarming new particulars about Rhodes’ alleged private involvement within the Jan. 6 plot, together with that he purchased and stockpiled hundreds of {dollars} of weapons and tactical gear, and that he responded to a textual content message informing him that members of Congress had been at risk and making an attempt to exit the Capitol with a two-word response: “fuck em.”

The one shock about Rhodes’ arrest is that it took so lengthy. The federal prices come practically 10 months after the militia chief first warned his followers he was more likely to be collared. “I could go to jail quickly,” he advised supporters at a rally in Laredo, Texas, final March. Rhodes embellished that he needed to make the most of the power “to say a number of issues, whereas I nonetheless can earlier than they ship me off to a gulag.” On the time Rhodes mentioned he can be dealing with arrest for “made up crimes” including that different members of the militia had already been locked up solely “as a result of the powers that be don’t like their political opinions.”

Till Thursday, Rhodes had remained a free man at the same time as the federal government has pressed ahead with conspiracy prices towards practically 20 Oath Keeper militia members. The federal government has already secured responsible pleas from not less than 4 Oath Keeper members who stormed the Capitol, and introduced prices towards 17 others for a conspiracy to “cease delay, and hinder the Certification of the Electoral School vote.”

Rhodes is talked about steadily in that December indictment, which refers to him as “Particular person One.” The doc cites Rhodes’ inflammatory rhetoric, describes his participation in planning for January 6, in addition to his energetic communication with alleged conspirators all through the occasion.

Rhodes is in his mid-50s and sports activities an unruly beard and an enormous “We The Individuals” forearm tattoo. He wears a patch over his left eye that offers him the air of a post-apocalyptic pirate, and his CV is as unconventional as his look. He’s a one-time paratrooper who later labored for libertarian gadfly congressman Ron Paul and graduated from Yale Regulation college, earlier than founding the Oath Keepers in 2009.

Federal prosecutors describe the Oath Keeper militia as anchored by a perception “that the federal authorities has been co-opted by a cabal of elites actively making an attempt to strip Americans of their rights.” The indictment underscores that the group “explicitly” recruits from “army, regulation enforcement, and first-responder personnel.” (Reporting on hacked membership data, Rolling Stone has additionally documented the militia’s attain into civic life, state governments, the media, and the governance of the NRA.)

The conspiracy indictment of Oath Keeper members identifies Rhodes because the militia’s massive boss — “The Oath Keepers are led by PERSON ONE.” And it quotes liberally from a Jan. Four directive Rhodes posted to the Oath Keepers web site calling on members to come back to Washington, D.C. for the occasions of Jan. 6:

“It’s CRITICAL that every one patriots who might be in D.C. get to D.C. to face tall in help of President Trump’s struggle,” Rhodes wrote, conspiratorially decrying a “coup” he falsely alleged was achieved by means of “huge vote fraud and associated assaults on our Republic.” He additional vowed the militia would place “well-armed and geared up QRF! [Quick Reaction Force] groups on standby, outdoors D.C.”

In a piece titled “Overt Acts,” the indictment particulars Rhodes’ participation in a Nov. 9 planning name had been, the Justice Division says, he warned of violence: “We’re going to defend the president, the duly elected president” — by whom he meant Trump — “and we name on him to do what must be accomplished to avoid wasting our nation,” Rhodes allegedly mentioned. “As a result of in case you don’t guys, you’re going to be in a bloody, bloody civil warfare, and a bloody — you may name it an revolt or you may name it a warfare or struggle.”

By Dec. 31st, that indictment states, Rhodes had joined a non-public group textual content on Sign titled “DC OP: Jan 6 21.” The indictment describes Rhodes as hand-picking a high deputy, generally known as “PERSON TEN,” to be the “operations chief” for the group on Jan. 6. The indictment additionally alleges Rhodes put up cash for lodge rooms for himself and “PERSON TEN” on the Hilton Backyard Inn in Vienna, Virginia. And it describes how, on the day of the revolt, Rhodes was in fixed contact, by way of textual content and telephone name, with folks named within the alleged conspiracy.

For instance, Rhodes texted the group chat at 1:25 p.m. remarking: “Pence is doing nothing. As I predicted.” After which once more at 1:40 p.m., he wrote: “All I see Trump doing is complaining. I see no intent by him to do something. So the patriots are taking it into their very own fingers. They’ve had sufficient.” Minutes later Rhodes texted that he was on his method to the Capitol.

The brand new indictment launched Thursday affords recent particulars of Rhodes’ involvement within the alleged plot:

It data a Sign message Rhodes despatched two days after the election calling on his followers to refuse to simply accept the end result: “We aren’t getting by means of this with out a civil warfare. Too late for that. Put together your thoughts, physique, spirit.”

Two days later, on Nov. 7, Rhodes despatched the same message calling for motion on the Capitol: “[W]e should now do what the folks of Serbia did when Milosevic stole their election. – Refuse to simply accept it and march en-mass on the nation’s Capitol.”

On December 11, he despatched a message to deputies warning that if Biden had been to take workplace: “It is going to be a bloody and determined struggle. We’re going to have a struggle. That may’t be averted.”

On New 12 months’s Eve, Rhodes texted: “There isn’t a normal political or authorized means out of this.”

On the day of Jan. 6, the indictment quotes Rhodes calling the insurgents, “Precise Patriots. Pissed off patriots[.] Just like the Sons of Liberty had been pissed off patriots[.]”

It additionally alleges for the primary time that Rhodes himself was a part of the breach, alleging he “entered the restricted Capitol grounds on the northeast facet of the Capitol.”

Shortly after Three p.m, the indictment data, Rhodes was texted with an replace that Congress members contained in the constructing had been given fuel masks and had been making an attempt to get out. Rhodes’ alleged reply: “fuck em.”

In alarming element, the indictment additionally alleges that Rhodes purchased and stockpiled hundreds of {dollars} of firearms and tactical gear, each within the build-up to Jan. 6 and in its aftermath:

“On December 30, 2020, RHODES bought two night-vision units and one weapon sight for roughly $7,000.”
“On January 1 and a pair of, 2021, RHODES spent roughly $5,000 on firearms and associated tools, together with a shotgun, scope, magazines, sights, optics, a bipod, quantity, a case of ammunition, and gun-cleaning provides.”
“On January 3, 2021, RHODES departed Granbury, Texas, and commenced touring to the Washington, D.C., metropolitan space. Whereas touring, RHODES spent roughly $6,000 in Texas on an AR-platform rifle and firearms tools, together with sights, mounts, triggers, slings, and extra firearms attachments.”
“On January 4, 2021, whereas nonetheless touring towards the Washington, D.C., metropolitan space, RHODES spent roughly $4,500 in Mississippi on firearms tools, together with sights, mounts, and optic plate, {a magazine}, and numerous firearms elements.”

The indictment alleges that the Oath Keepers’ efforts to undermine Biden’s election didn’t cease with the breach of the Capitol: “All through the night of January 6, 2021, the co-conspirators mentioned the necessity to proceed preventing to cease the lawful switch of presidential energy.” It data enthusiastic textual content messages Rhodes despatched that night time, together with: “Patriots coming into their very own Capitol to ship a message to the traitors is NOTHING in comparison with what’s coming.”

The indictment data that Rhodes subsequently bought “a big quantity of firearms and associated tools”:

On Jan. 10, it alleges, he spent roughly “$6,000 on sights, bipods, a scope, mounts, backpacks, a gun grip, {a magazine} pouch, and different associated gadgets.” The following day he spent one other $1,500 “on scopes, magazines, and different gadgets.” On Jan 12, he dropped one other practically “$7,000 on a whole lot of rounds of ammunition, duffel baggage, magazines, rifle scopes, a scope mount, a gun mild, and different gadgets.” The spending spree continued for 2 extra days with Rhodes dropping one other $3,000 on assorted “firearms elements, mounts, magazines, a scope leveler, targets, ammunition, a gun case, holsters, and gun-maintenance tools, amongst different gadgets.”

The plan for this weapons stockpile will not be detailed within the indictment, which data that Rhodes returned to his dwelling state of Texas and appeared to observe recommendation to “keep under the radar.” Across the time of the inauguration, nonetheless, the indictment provides,  “Rhodes messaged others to prepare native militias to oppose President Biden’s Administration.”

Learn the brand new indictment under.

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