WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- A jury found four members of the militia group Oath Keepers guilty of engaging in a seditious conspiracy on Jan. 6, 2021.
- The conviction is the second major sedition trial against members of the far-right group aiming to stop the certification of President Joe Biden’s election victory.
- A lawyer of one of the convicted men said, “When you follow somebody blindly, you end up in a terrible situation.”
Additional members of the Oath Keepers were found guilty on Monday of seditious conspiracy for taking part in the Jan. 6, 2021, U.S. Capitol attack.
The conviction is the second major sedition trial against members of the far-right group, who joined hundreds who attacked the Capitol and used force to stop the certification of President Joe Biden’s election victory.
The four convicted Oath Keeper members were David Moerschel, Joseph Hackett, Roberto Minuta and Edward Vallejo.
They were also convicted for obstructing Congress from certifying the 2020 presidential election, and for two other conspiracy charges related to the Capitol attack.
A 12-member Washington, D.C., jury delivered the verdict just months after prosecutors obtained a guilty verdict for the sedition charge against founder Stewart Rhodes and other codefendants.
Prosecutors have brought criminal charges against over 950 individuals following the insurrection. Four people died during the riot, and five police officers died of various causes after the Jan. 6 attack.
The seditious conspiracy case was split into two separate trials by U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta due to space limitations and the risks of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Rhodes made statements about “civil war” and “bloody war” center stage, with prosecutors saying the other members were inspired to follow him.
There is an ongoing third seditious conspiracy trial against five members of the Proud Boys, another extremist group supporting former President Donald Trump.
Jurors heard testimony and evidence in the second Oath Keepers case for several weeks.
On the day of the attack, Moerschel, Hackett and Minuta all entered the Capitol clad in tactical gear.
Scott Weinberg, an attorney for Moerschel, told reporters he believes it may have been easier for the defendants if they had been tried in the same trial with Rhodes because it would have been easier to point to him as the “real bad guy.”
“Obviously, these men were swept up by the Stop the Steal nonsense that was pushed by the president,” Weinberg added. “When you follow somebody blindly, you end up in a terrible situation.”
All four men will have to remain in home detention before the sentencing while some are expected to file an appeal..
The trial featured testimony from law enforcement officials and several fellow Oath Keepers who had previously pleaded guilty to other crimes, who said they had acted to stop the vote count.
Source: NBC News