The Department of Justice filed to appeal the prison sentences of eight members of the extremist group the Oath Keepers, who were convicted for actions related to the deadly January 6, 2021 insurrection on the U.S. Capitol.
Federal prosecutors did not give a reason why they were appealing the prison sentences—including the 18 years behind bars handed down to Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes, who was convicted of seditious conspiracy.
However, the appeals will keep alive tests in court regarding aspects of the case against the Oath Keepers, potentially leading to new law related to acts of seditious conspiracy, a charge that had been rarely prosecuted before January 6. The crime is defined as attempting to “overthrow, put down or to destroy by force the government of the United States.”
Eight Oath Keepers members who were sentenced surrounding January 6, including Rhodes, have already appealed their sentences. A ninth member, Thomas Caldwell, has not been sentenced yet.
In May, five former members of the extremist group the Proud Boys—including former chair Henry “Enrique” Tarrio—were also found guilty of seditious conspiracy related to January 6. Their sentences followed former leader of the Proud Boys, Jeremy Bertino, pleading guilty in October to seditious conspiracy for his connections to the January 6 insurrection.
There’s been no word so far whether the Proud Boys’ prison sentences will also be appealed by the DOJ.