(GoRealNewsNow.com) – Stewart Rhodes, the founder of the Oath Keepers and one of the men federal prosecutors have labeled as a “leader” of the January 6, 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol, was sentenced to 18 years in prison for “seditious conspiracy.”
Rhodes’ sentence is the longest for any defendant in the hundreds of January 6 cases, the Associated Press reports, as cited by Newsmax.
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He is also the first person sentenced for seditious conspiracy over the breach of the Capitol.
U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta sentenced the Oath Keepers founder for “orchestrating” a week-long “plot” which led up to January 6.
According to the US Justice Department, two “extremist” groups – Proud Boys and Oath Keepers – came to the nation’s capital on January 6, 2021, ready to fight to help President Donald Trump retain the White House.
The judge told Rhodes he constituted a continued threat to the United States since he wanted “democracy in this country to devolve into violence.”
“The moment you are released, whenever that may be, you will be ready to take up arms against your government,” Mehta said.
The prosecution had asked for a 25-year prison sentence for Rhodes, presenting him as the “architect” of a plot to disrupt the White House handover from Trump to Biden.
The DOJ alleged the plot included “quick reaction force” teams at a Virginia hotel to ferry weapons into the capital if needed.
Before the sentence was read, a defiant Rhodes blasted the charges against him as politically motivated. He insisted that he never entered the U.S. Capitol and never told anybody to do so.
“I’m a political prisoner and like President Trump, my only crime is opposing those who are destroying our country,” Rhodes stated.
His sentence also stood out among other January 6 cases as the judge agreed with prosecutors that the defendant deserved enhanced penalties for “terrorism” since the Oath Keepers allegedly targeted the U.S. government through “intimidation or coercion.”
“Judges in previous sentencings had shot down the Justice Department’s request for the so-called ‘terrorism enhancement’ — which can lead to a longer prison term — but Mehta said it fits in Rhodes’ case,” AP concludes.
The founder of the Oath Keepers extremist group was sentenced Thursday to 18 years in prison. https://t.co/6mSiSBjQgQ
— NEWSMAX (@NEWSMAX) May 25, 2023