The head of the Oath Keepers Florida chapter, Kelly Meggs, was sentenced to 12 years for seditious conspiracy related to the deadly January 6, 2021 insurrection upon the U.S. Capitol.
Meggs’ sentencing came just hours after the far-right extremist group’s founde, Stewart Rhodes was sentenced to 18 years for seditious conspiracy.
Prosecutors had sought a 25-year prison sentence for Rhodes, and they requested anything from 10 to 21 years for Meggs.
The two men were found guilty of seditious conspiracy in November related to their actions amid the violent attempt to overturn the 2020 Presidential election.
Until recently, “seditious conspiracy” had rarely been prosecuted. However, in October the former leader of another right-wing extremist group, the Proud Boys, Jeremy Bertino, pleaded guilty to the crime for his connections to the January 6 insurrection.
On May 4, former Proud Boys Henry “Enrique” Tarrio, Ethan Nordean, Zachary Rehl,Carmen Hernandez and Joe Biggs were also found guilty of seditious conspiracy related to January 6.
And in January four additional Oath Keepers were also found guilty of seditious conspiracy.
Meggs’ sentencing hearing in federal court in Washington began at 1:30pm ET—about half an hour after Rhodes’ sentence was handed down.
On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta heard victim impact statements. Among them was Metropolitan Police Officer Christopher Owens, who had crossed paths with Oath Keepers members in Senate hallways on January 6 as rioters invaded the building in an attempt to stop Congress in its Constitutional duty of certifying President Biden’s electoral college victory over then-President Trump.
“We experienced physical trauma, emotional trauma and mental trauma,” Owens said during Wednesday’s hearing. “The traumas we suffered that day were endless.”
During Thursday’s hearing, federal prosecutors reportedly called Meggs the the intellectual and moral leader of the Oath Keepers’ conspiracy on January 6 alongiside Rhodes. They noted that Meggs was wearing a patch on the day of the insurrection that said, “I’m just here for the violence.”
So far, prosecutors have brought criminal charges against more than 1,000 people following the assault on the U.S. Capitol. A little over 500 of them have been sentenced, with more than half receiving prison terms ranging from a week to over 14 years.
Four people died during the insurrection, and five police officers died of various causes following the attack.