Authored by Joseph M. Hanneman via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is seeking a 25-year prison sentence for Oath Keepers founder Elmer Stewart Rhodes III, who was found guilty at trial of seditious conspiracy and other Jan. 6, 2021-related charges.
Such a sentence would by far be the longest of any Jan. 6 criminal prosecution.
In a 183-page sentencing memorandum (pdf) filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, the DOJ also recommended prison sentences from 10 to 21 years for seven other Oath Keepers and an associate who were found guilty during trials in 2022 and early 2023 of various Jan. 6 crimes
“These defendants were prepared to fight. Not for their country but against it,” federal prosecutors wrote in a filing with U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta.
“In their own words, they were ‘willing to die’ in a ‘guerrilla war’ to achieve their goal of halting the transfer of power after the 2020 Presidential election. As a co-conspirator recognized, their actions made these defendants ‘traitors.’”
Other defendants, and the DOJ’s sentence recommendations, include Kelly Meggs, 21 years; Jessica Watkins, 18 years; Roberto Minuta, 17 years; Edward Vallejo, 17 years; Kenneth Harrelson, 15 years; Thomas Caldwell, 14 years; Joseph Hackett, 12 years; and David Moerschel, 10 years.
‘Including Use of Force’
In crafting the recommendations, prosecutors applied enhancers and upward departures from sentencing guidelines for aggravating factors, such as obstruction and the role each defendant allegedly played on Jan. 6, 2021.
“As legal challenges to the election sputtered, and President Trump gave no indication that he would invoke the Insurrection Act to halt the certification of the election,” the sentencing memo reads, “these defendants explicitly discussed the need to use any means necessary, up to and including the use of force, to oppose the transfer of power, and they began to focus on January 6 as a day of action for their objective.
“Then, on January 6, the defendants seized the opportunity to advance their conspiratorial goal by participating in the attack on the Capitol.”
Prosecutors told jurors in the first two Oath Keepers trials that the group conspired to “prevent the peaceful transfer of power” to Joe Biden from then-President Donald J. Trump. Defendants seized the opportunity on Jan. 6, 2021, to attack the Capitol and attempt to stymie the ceremonial counting of Electoral College votes from the 2020 presidential election.
Defense attorneys said there was no plan nor a conspiracy to halt certification. They said the Oath Keepers didn’t “attack” the Capitol, although some members entered the building on the afternoon of Jan. 6, 2021, and rendered assistance to police. The Oath Keepers were in Washington that day to provide event security and VIP protection for permit-approved rallies, according to the attorneys.
Didn’t Enter Capitol
Rhodes said he was convicted not for anything he did on Jan. 6, 2021, but for who he is and for speech that’s protected by the First Amendment.
“I did not enter the Capitol. Nor did I instruct anyone else to enter the Capitol,” he said in a 46-page reflection written from his jail cell.
“And yet, here I sit, because of who I am, and because of what I said—my political speech—not because of anything constituting an actual crime, not because of anything I actually did.”
Rhodes, who will be sentenced on May 25, said he was at a nearby hotel on Jan. 6, 2021, when he saw television coverage of violence breaking out at the Capitol. He went to the Capitol and ordered all Oath Keepers away from the building, he told the FBI in a May 2021 interview.
A jury on Nov. 29, 2022, found him not guilty of conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding and conspiracy to prevent a member of Congress from discharging their duty. However, despite not entering the Capitol, Rhodes was found guilty of obstructing an official proceeding.
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Mon, 05/08/2023 – 21:40