Fourth Oath Keepers Member Sentenced to Prison this Week for January 6

May 26, 2023

Army veteran and Oath Keepers member Kenneth Harrelson was sentenced Friday to four years (48 months) in prison after being convicted of crimes related to the deadly January 6, 2021 insurrection on the U.S. Capitol.

His sentencing came just hours after fellow Oath Keeper and fellow army vet Jessica Watkins was sentenced to 8.5 years in prison. And it came came one day after Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes and Florida chapter leader Kelly Meggs were sentenced to 18 years and 12 years behind bars, respectively, for seditious conspiracy related to January 6.

Both Harrelson and Watkins were acquitted of seditious conspiracy in November, but the pair were each convicted of obstructing justice. 

U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta, the same judge who sentenced Rhodes and Meggs on Thursday, presided over today’s sentences as well.

The Department of Justice had sought a 15-year prison sentence for Harrelson.

However, Judge Mehta said in court Friday, “Mr. Harrelson, let me just say at the outset I don’t think you are what the government has suggested.”

Harrelson was the group’s “ground team lead” when Oath Keepers joined the mob that stormed the Capitol on January 6 in an attempt to prevent Congress from undertaking its Constitutional duty that day to certify President Biden’s 2020 electoral college victory over then-President Trump. 

Attorneys for Oath Keepers argued during trial that the right-wing extremists had no plan to attack the Capitol on January 6 and insisted they never intended to interfere with Congress in its duty. 

While Watkins testified that storming the Capitol was a “really stupid” decision, Harrelson did not testify in his own behalf during trial.

During his sentencing hearing, however, he reportedly cried heavily while making a statement of apology.

“I am responsible and my foolish actions have caused immense pain to my wife and children,” Harrelson said in court Friday.

He also apologized directly to Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn.

Dunn has previously stated that he suffers PTSD from the hours he spent struggling against the violence to defend the Capitol on January 6, and testified that he prevented members of the Oath Keepers from entering the office of then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

According to the Justice Department, more than 1,033 suspects have been arrested in nearly all 50 states and the District of Columbia related to the assault on the U.S. Capitol. A reported more than 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.

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