the leader of a far-right militia convicted of « sedition », a first

They face 20 years in prison. The founder of the Oath Keepers, Stewart Rhodes, and another member of this far-right militia, on Tuesday became the first participants in the assault on the Capitol to be convicted of “sedition”.

After two months of trial and three days of deliberations in a federal court in Washington, the twelve jurors on the other hand dismissed this extremely rare charge for three other members of the Oath Keepers. All five were found guilty of obstructing an official process. They will be sentenced in the spring of 2023.

“A general on the battlefield”.

On January 6, 2021, they attacked the temple of American democracy with a thousand other supporters of Donald Trump, when elected officials certified the victory of Democrat Joe Biden in the presidential election. Since this coup that shocked the world, more than 870 people have been arrested and a hundred have received prison sentences, including the perpetrators of violence against the police. But, so far, no one had been convicted of “sedition”. This charge, which stems from a law passed after the Civil War to repress the last rebels in the south, involves having planned the use of force to oppose the government. It differs from insurrection, which has a more spontaneous character.

During the trial, prosecutors showed that the Oath Keepers purchased weapons and combat equipment, and stored them in a hotel near Washington. On D-Day, helmeted and equipped with combat gear, they had entered the Capitol, in combat formation. Stewart Rhodes had remained on the outside, but according to prosecutors, he had led his troops with a radio « like a general on the battlefield ».

On the witness stand, this tribune, recognizable by his black eye patch, denied « having planned » this attack and maintained that the « mission » of the Oath Keepers was to ensure the security of the demonstration called by Donald Trump to to denounce « electoral fraud » (the existence of which has never been established).


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