Feds: oath keepers seek ‘violent overthrow’ of government

WASHINGTON (AP) — In the weeks leading up to January. On September 6, 2021, Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes and four colleagues discussed using violence to overturn the 2020 election results, and when rioters began storming the Capitol, they saw an opportunity to do it, federal prosecutors said. told jurors on Friday in a case of seditious conspiracy. close wounds. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathryn Rakoczy said in closing arguments with a jury after nearly two months of testimony in a pivotal case that Rose’s own words would show he was preparing to lead an insurrection to oust Democrat Joe Biden from the White House. Rose and his co-defendants have repeatedly called for the “violent overthrow” of the US government and jumped into action on January 1st. 6, she said. “Our democracy is fragile. It cannot exist without respect for the rule of law, and people who are dissatisfied with the outcome of the election will not survive if they can use force and violence to change the outcome,” said Rakoczy. The final argument was launched in Washington federal court after final evidence was presented at the trial that Rhodes and his anti-government extremists had conspired for weeks to sabotage the peaceful transfer of power from Republican Donald Trump to Biden. The jury is expected to begin deliberating after the defense’s final statements on Monday. Rhodes’ lawyers tried to downplay his violent rhetoric by January 1st. 6, describing it as an “erection” and claiming there was no consensual or conspiracy. Defense attorney James Lee Bright said Rose’s language was focused on persuading Trump to invoke the Insurrection Act over what he saw as a stolen election. Rhodes “didn’t hide his opinions, and he didn’t hide any plans,” Bright told the jury. He was “as open as daylight to any plan he would ask of President Trump.” Evidence presented by prosecutors suggests that Rose and his co-defendants have been discussing the possibility of violence and the need to remove Biden from the White House in the weeks leading up to Jan. 1. On January 6, before hiding a cache of weapons called the “Rapid Response Force” in a hotel in Virginia across the Potomac River. On the 6th, defenders of the oath wearing helmets and other combat gear were seen pushing through pro-Trump mobs into the Capitol. Rose remained outside “like a general examining his troops on the battlefield,” one prosecutor told jurors. After the attack, Rose and other oathkeepers celebrated over dinner at a local restaurant, prosecutors said. The defense team hammered for weeks the prosecutors’ relative lack of evidence that the oath-bearers had an explicit plan to attack the Capitol. Rose, a Texas native, testified that he and his followers were only in Washington to protect Roger Stone and other right-wing figures. Those who kept their oaths who entered the Capitol became hoodlums and were “stupid,” he said. Rhodes tested a mountain of texts and text messages showing him rallying his extremists to prepare for violence and discussing the prospects of a “bloody” civil war ahead of Jan. 1. 6 was just a wild word. Prosecutors attempted to drop the suggestion that Rhodes’ comments were mere bluffing, and urged jurors not to “go numb” to the message that the message was “deadly serious” and not just “shouting and frenzy”. “The way they defined themselves as above the law is why they are here today,” she said. “A sense of entitlement that led to frustration that led to anger and violence, that’s the story of this conspiracy.” Rhodes’ attorney said his client was back in his hotel room eating chicken wings and watching TV when the first mob began storming the Capitol. He pointed out that the Oathkeepers never deployed their “rapid response” arsenal. He told the jury, “You’re either a keystone cop in mutiny or there’s no mutiny”, referring to the incompetent police officers in silent films. If the. Jessica Watkins of Woodstock, Ohio, reiterated that her own actions that day were “really stupid”, but claimed that she was not part of her plan and was “swept along” with the mob. Sale on the popular shopping day known as Black Friday. Defendant Thomas Caldwell, a Navy veteran from Virginia, downplayed the frightening evidence. He was a message sent to get a ship to carry arms from Virginia across the Potomac to Washington. He had trouble explaining other messages that referenced the January 1st violence, but he tested that he was never serious about his questions. 6. Two other defendants from Florida, Kelly Meggs and Kenneth Harrelson, did not testify. Meggs’ attorney, Stanley Woodward, argued that thousands of people were involved and that his client was not the first to enter the Capitol. Lawyers for the other defendants are expected to give closing arguments Monday. The group is among the first to stand trial for seditious conspiracy among the hundreds of people arrested in the deadly Capitol riot, a rare Civil War-era charge that calls for up to 20 years behind bars. In case of conviction F. The stakes are high for the Justice Department, which last received such convictions in a trial nearly 30 years ago and plans to trial two more groups later this year. apnews.com/capitol-siege.
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