The jury was set to begin deliberations Tuesday in the January 6-linked seditious conspiracy trial of Oath Keepers militia founder Steward Rhodes and four other members.
Seditious conspiracy is defined as attempting to “overthrow, put down or to destroy by force the government of the United States.” It is rarely prosecuted; however, last month the former leader of another extremist group, Jeremy Bertino of the Proud Boys, pled guilty to seditious conspiracy for his connections to the January 6 insurrection to overturn the 2020 Presidential election.
Prosecutors in the Oath Keepers’ trial presented evidence showing the defendants discussing the possible use of violence in the run-up to January 6, 2021 in an attempt to keep Joe Biden out of the White House. They also showed how the Oath Keepers had stashed a massive cache of weapons referred to as a “quick reaction force” at a Virginia hotel.
Also on that day, Oath Keepers wearing battle gear could be seen shoving through the mob into the Capitol while Rhodes remained outside—like “a general surveying his troops on a battlefield,” one prosecutor had told the jury.
Defense attorneys have argued that the fact that the cache of weapons stored in the Virginia hotel were never even brought into the city of Washington supports their argument that they had only planned to provide security on January 6 for high-profile conservatives like Roger Stone.
The jury consists of seven men and five women. If it does not deliver a verdict on Tuesday, the outcome of the trial will not be known until next week at the earliest, after the Thanksgiving holiday.
All five defendants have pleaded not guilty. If they are convicted of the most serious charges, each defendant could face up to 20 years in federal prison.