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The founder and leader of a far-right group has been arrested and charged in federal court with seditious conspiracy for his involvement in the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol.
Stewart Rhodes, 56, founder of the Oath Keepers, is among 11 defendants accused of helping to instigate violence at the Capitol. He did not enter the Capitol.
His case is the first time the Justice Department has brought a seditious conspiracy charge against a Jan. 6 rioter.
Rhodes was arrested Thursday in Texas, his attorney, Jonathan Moseley, told the Associated Press.
“He has been subject to a lot of suspicion to why he wasn’t indicted,” so far in the Jan. 6 riot, Moseley said. “I don’t know if this is in response to those discussions, but we do think it’s unfortunate. It’s an unusual situation.”
“The seditious conspiracy indictment alleges that, following the Nov. 3, 2020, presidential election, Rhodes conspired with his co-defendants and others to oppose by force the execution of the laws governing the transfer of presidential power by Jan. 20, 2021,” the Justice Department wrote in a press release.
“Beginning in late December 2020, via encrypted and private communications applications, Rhodes and various co-conspirators coordinated and planned to travel to Washington, D.C., on or around Jan. 6, 2021, the date of the certification of the electoral college vote, the indictment alleges,” the statement continued.
According to the Justice Department, Rhodes and his fellow conspirators “were prepared and willing to use force and to transport firearms and ammunition into Washington, D.C.”
Rhodes is one of many members of the group charged with crimes on that day.
Some information in this report came from The Associated Press.