Site icon The Bobr Times

Capitol assault: 18 years in prison for far-right leader Stewart Rhodes

Capitol assault: 18 years in prison for far-right leader Stewart Rhodes


One of the figures of the American far right, Stewart Rhodes, was sentenced Thursday to 18 years in prison for “sedition”, the highest sentence to date linked to the attack on the Capitol. 

The founder of the “Oath Keepers” militia adopted a defiant posture until the end: “I am a political prisoner”, “my only crime is to oppose those who are destroying our country”, he said. launched just before being fixed on his sentence.

Federal Judge Amit Mehta curtly put him in his place: “You are NOT a political prisoner, Mr. Rhodes”, did he -he says. “You are here because twelve jurors (…) have found you guilty of sedition”, “one of the most serious crimes an American can commit”.

This leader, who involves having planned the use of force against the government, is liable to 20 years in prison. But the prosecutors had requested 25 years against Stewart Rhodes, relying on a device which makes it possible to raise the sentences for acts of a “terrorist” nature.

Without following them completely, Judge Mehta endorsed their analysis on this point. “Acts of intimidation or coercion that are intended to burden the government” fall into this category, he said.

He also justified the severity of the sentence by the leadership role of Stewart Rhodes, a 58-year-old ex-serviceman, and his lack of remorse. “You represent a persistent threat and danger to the country,” the magistrate said.

On January 6, 2021, thousands of Donald Trump supporters sowed chaos and violence in the seat of Congress , when elected officials certified the victory of his rival Joe Biden in the presidential election.

The sprawling investigation that followed resulted in the arrest of more than 1,000 people. Nearly 300 received prison sentences, the heaviest so far being 14 years.


But only ten activists from far-right groups – six members of the “Oath Keepers” and four “Proud Boys” – have been found guilty of “sedition” after three separate trials in Washington.


After weeks of hearings, jurors felt they had prepared, amassing weapons and entering military formation in the Capitol to block the formalization of Donald Trump's defeat.

On D-Day, Stewart Rhodes, known for his black eyepatch and fiery diatribes, remained outside the Capitol, but, according to the prosecution, he led his troops by radio “like a general on the field of battle”.

During his trial, the tribune had denied “planning” the attack and maintained that the “mission” of the Oath Keepers was to provide security for the demonstration called by Donald Trump to denounce alleged “electoral fraud”.

Claiming to have been presented with a fait accompli, he had considered it “stupid” that Kelly Meggs, who heads the Florida section of the Oath Keepers, had entered the Capitol. “It opened the door to our political persecution,” he said.

Kelly Meggs, also convicted of sedition, will be sentenced in the afternoon.

“Enjoy the chaos” 

A former soldier and Yale University law graduate, Stewart Rhodes founded the Oath Keepers in 2009, recruiting former soldiers or police officers, initially to fight against the federal state deemed “oppressive”.

Like other radical groups, this militia was seduced by Donald Trump's anti-elite rhetoric and fully endorsed the allegations of electoral fraud brandished – against all evidence – by the Republican.

In Court documents, lawyers for Stewart Rhodes tried to portray them as “philanthropists”, called upon to deploy to prevent riots, after natural disasters or during demonstrations against police brutality.

“For Rhodes, imposing the Oath Keepers in crisis situations was not intended to help, but to contribute and profit from the chaos,” prosecutors retorted.

Judge Mehta also ruled that the presence of the Chief of the Oath Keepers was generally not good news due to his “appetite for violence”. “You are intelligent, charismatic and eloquent. That's what makes you dangerous,” he told her.

Exit mobile version