Capitol Conspiracy: Oath Keepers Put on Trial


Colin Lloyd

January 6th’s Capitol breach filled the United States with fear and chaos.

Aarushi Mandal, Editorial/Opinion Editor

After recent discoveries regarding last January’s attack on the Capitol, Stewart Rhodes, founder of the extremist group the “Oath Keepers,” along with four others are being charged with seditious conspiracy. 

This offense refers to two or more persons conspiracizing violence or war in order to overthrow the government or hinder execution of a law. Viewing the Capitol breach as a means of stopping the transfer of power from former President Donald J. Trump to Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Justice Department considers it the most serious charge that has come from the Capitol riot investigation.  

The Justice department had initially charged 11 members of the organization with seditious conspiracy. Three pleaded guilty and are currently awaiting their sentences while the others will be tried later this year. 

Allegations state that Rhodes was the ringleader in organizing, planning and training a multitude of individuals that later went on to storm the Capitol on January 6th. However, the defense claims that the Oath Keepers’ presence in D.C was solely to protect high profile attendees of former President Trump’s rally held earlier that day.

It was further discovered that the Oath Keepers stashed heavy weaponry in Arlington, Virginia prior to the attack. According to the defense, this was supposedly done in preparation for former President Trump to invoke the Insurrection Act as tensions were high in D.C. Under this law, the President has the power to deploy militia in order to combat civilian rebellion and enforce law. This act will continue to be a critical element throughout the trial as Rhodes’ lawyer is using it as a primary defense. 

Being the first seditious conspiracy prosecution made by the Justice Department since 2010, this trial is highly anticipated. Frequently referred to as the “highest profile case” that has stemmed from the Capitol riot, the next five weeks will provide much awaited insight on the tragedy.