Jun 23, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Prosecutors broaden conspiracy indictment of Oath Keepers

Stewart Rhodes, founder of the Oath Keepers, is seen on a screen.

Stewart Rhodes, founder of the Oath Keepers, is seen on a screen. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

U.S. prosecutors broadened a seditious conspiracy charge against Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes and eight co-defendants, the Washington Post reports.

Driving the news: The indictment, amended on Thursday, alleges the far-right group coordinated to use force to combat the federal government's authority and oppose the transfer of power to President Joe Biden during the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.

  • "Rhodes and certain conspirators ... coordinated travel across the country to enter Washington, D.C., equipped themselves with a variety of weapons, donned combat and tactical gear, and were prepared to answer Rhodes' call to take up arms at Rhodes' direction," prosecutors allege in the indictment.

Why it matters: The indictment adds a new point that allows prosecutors to ask a jury to find Rhodes and co-conspirators guilty at a trial on Sept. 26, per WashPost.

Yes, but: The new indictment doesn't allege any new facts or add any new charges but gives the Justice Department an opportunity to prove its case.

The big picture: Rhodes and his co-defendants were arrested and charged last January in connection with events leading up to and including the Capitol riot.

  • The indictment alleges Rhodes "conspired with his co-defendants and others to oppose by force the execution of the laws governing the transfer of presidential power by Jan. 20, 2021."
  • The Oath Keepers founder and several other co-accused pleaded not guilty to seditious conspiracy in January.

Worth noting: Prosecutors asked a judge Wednesday to create an ethics inquiry into whether a Trump-allied lawyer is funding the Oath Keepers' defense, Reuters reports.

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