Oath Keepers’ Hackett Sentenced to 3.5 Years for January 6

June 2, 2023

Joseph Hackett, a member of the far-right extremist group the Oath Keepers, was sentenced to 3.5 years in prison on Friday for seditious conspiracy and other crimes related to the deadly January 6, 2021 insurrection upon the U.S. Capitol.

His sentencing came one day after fellow Oath Keepers Roberto Minuta and Edward Vallejo were sentenced to 4.5 and 3 years, respectively.

The same judge who sentenced those two Oath Keepers, U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta, president over Hackett’s sentencing, and also over the Friday sentencing another Oath Keepers member, David Moerschel, who was slapped with 3 years in prison.

In May Mehta sentenced Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes and the head of the group’s Florida chapter, Kelly Meggs, to 18 and 12 years, respectively.

All six of these Oath Keepers were convicted of seditious conspiracy for the actions related to January 6. 

Prosecutors had requested a 12-year prison sentence for Hackett and a 10-year sentence for Moerschel. 

Both men were among a group of Oath Keepers who breached the Capitol on January 6, clad in paramilitary gear, amid the violent mob’s attempt to stop Congress in its Constitutional duty to certify President Biden’s 2020 electoral college victory over then-President Trump.

During their initial trials, prosecutors had argued that on January 6, Hackett and Moerschel joined a group of 12 others as the “boots on the ground,” forcing their way into the Capitol building with “brute strength.” It was referred to as a stack formation that prosecutors said acted as a “battering ram” to push through the mob. 

They described Hackett as a low-level leader in the Oath Keepers, and pointed to his call for the arrest of “corrupt politicians” as foreshadowing his actions on January 6.

Hackett’s defense attorney had asked Mehta to “primarily focus on alternatives to incarceration” in issuing a sentence.

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, five former Proud Boys were also found guilty of seditious conspiracy related to January 6.

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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