Journalism in the service of society

US: Militia leader gets 18 years in prison over Capitol attack

THE founder of the far-right Oath Keepers militia was handed an 18-year prison sentence Thursday for seditious conspiracy in the 2021 attack on the US Capitol, the toughest penalty given yet over the January 6 assault.

Stewart Rhodes was one of more than 1,000 people charged over the attack, which, encouraged by then-president Donald Trump, aimed to block Congress from certifying Joe Biden as the winner of the November 2020 election.

“Seditious conspiracy is among the most serious crimes an American can commit,” said Judge Amit Mehta in pronouncing the sentence.

“You present an ongoing threat and a peril to this country,” Mehta told Rhodes, who led the Oath Keepers and organized their participation, with a stockpile of arms, in the attack on the Capitol by Trump supporters.

“You are smart, charismatic and compelling and that is frankly what makes you dangerous,” Mehta said — rejecting Rhodes’ claim that he was a “political prisoner.”

The sentence fell short of the 25 years the government had sought, although Mehta accepted the argument that the Oath Keepers’ plan to violently block Biden from becoming president amounted to terrorism.

Just ahead of the sentence, Rhodes, wearing an eye patch and dressed in his orange prison jumpsuit, defiantly defended his group and their actions in support of Trump.

“My only crime is opposing those destroying our country,” he declared, comparing himself to the famed Soviet dissident Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.

Comments are closed.

Naija Times