2nd Oath Keepers Sedition Trial Set To Start

December 12, 2022

Opening statements were set for Monday in Washington DC’s federal court in the case of four members of the far-right extremist group the Oath Keepers.

Joseph Hackett, of Sarasota, Florida; Roberto Minuta of Prosper, Texas; David Moerschel of Punta Gorda, Florida; and Edward Vallejo of Phoenix are charged with, among other crimes, seditious conspiracy, in connection with their actions related to the January 6, 2021 insurrection against the U.S. Capitol and the attempt to overturn the 2020 Presidential election. 

Their trial follows the convictions of Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes and Florida chapter head Kelly Meggs of seditious conspiracy last month. The pair were also found guilty of a number of other crimes along with Oath Keepers Jessica Watkins, Kenneth Harrelson and Thomas Caldwell, including obstruction of an official proceeding and aiding and abetting.

Prosecutors are set to assert that Hackett and Moerschel were part of the first group of Oath Keepers, along with Meggs and Watkins, that shoved their way into the Capitol in military-style “stack” formation. Minuta later joined a second “stack” that forced its way inside the building.

Vallejo is accused of helping coordinate quick reaction force teams in Virginia that authorities say the Oath Keepers had set up to rush a cache of weapons into Washington if necessary. 

Prosecutors say on the morning of January 6, Vallejo and another quick reaction force team member discussed the possibility of “armed conflict.”

Defense attorneys had argued—unsuccessfully—in the first Oath Keepers trial that the defendants should not be found guilty because that cache of weapons was never deployed.

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. In October, however, 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.

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