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Sunday, May 29, 2022

Stuart Rhodes, leader of the Oathkeepers, denied bail on charges of sedition

Stuart Rhodes, the leader of the Oathkeeper militia charged with a mutinous conspiracy in connection with the attack on the Capitol on January 6 last year, was denied bail by a Texas federal judge on Wednesday, saying he was at risk of escaping in part because of “elaborate escape tunnels.” “, which he installed in his backyard.

Mr. Rhodes, 56, lived in fear of being “taken by the feds” and bought hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of barbed wire to line the perimeter of his Montana property, Judge Kimberly S. Priest Johnson wrote in a 17-page letter. order. Judge Johnson said Mr. Rhodes also hid “unregistered vehicles in the woods” near his home.

The charges against Mr. Rhodes, who was charged this month with sedition along with 10 other members of his group, are part of the most serious criminal case filed by the Justice Department in connection with the attack on the Capitol. This week, a federal judge in Washington who will oversee the case set a pre-trial date for July.

Prosecutors charged about 275 people with obstructing Congress’s duty to certify the 2020 presidential election. But they have not previously used the charge of sedition, with the legal weight and political overtones it carries in a highly polarized country.

Only days after the 2020 election, Mr Rhodes was leading a complex plot “to prevent the legitimate transfer of presidential power by force,” prosecutors said.

Some members of the Oath Keepers — a group made up primarily of current and former law enforcement and military personnel — broke into the Capitol in military formation on January 6, 2021, and went in search of Speaker Nancy Pelosi. , says the indictment. Others, he said, were stationed at a hotel in Arlington, Virginia, as armed “rapid reaction forces” ready to break into Washington if necessary.

Judge Johnson wrote that some of the Rapid Reaction Force’s weapons came from Mr. Rhodes himself, who bought almost $40,000 worth of firearms, ammunition and related accessories in the days leading up to the attack. In private messages obtained by the government through search warrants, Mr. Rhodes frequently spoke of “incitement to revolution or civil war” that “could become bloody,” she added.

Mr Rhodes’ lawyer said he plans to appeal the judge’s decision.

More than 20 members of the Oathkeepers have been charged in connection with the Capitol attack, including at least four who are known to be cooperating with federal prosecutors. Through their attorneys, the indicted oathkeepers said they had gathered in Washington just before Jan. 6 not to attack the Capitol, but as part of a security force hired to protect conservative celebrities such as Roger J. ally of former President Donald Trump.

In an unusual set of circumstances, Mr Rhodes’ estranged ex-wife Tasha Adams approached Judge Johnson after Monday’s bail hearing, asking her permission to release information about their marriage. Noting that she had filed for divorce in 2018, Ms Adams told the judge that Mr Rhodes often brandished a weapon in their home “to control her behavior” and that he physically abused their six children “under the guise of participating in combat operations.” artistic practice.

“RS Adams testified that the Defendant’s violence against the family increased in 2016 and that her greatest fear was that the Defendant would kill Ms. Adams and the children before committing suicide,” Judge Johnson wrote.

Marina Trahan Martinez made a report.

World Nation News Desk
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