Stewart Rhodes was the founder and leader the extremist far right militia Oath Keepers. He was arrested for his role in the January 6 attack on Capitol Hill. He is the first person to face seditious conspiracies in connection to the attack.
Rhodes, a former lawyer and army veteran, founded the extremist militia back in 2009. The group is specialized in recruiting soldiers, veterans, and other military personnel. Police officers who are active. The coup attempt was a major part of Rhodes and Oath Keepers. Members of the group were among those involved. Most well-equippedParamilitary gear was seen in the crowd that day.
The Oath Keepers leader, was arrested on Thursday along with 10 others. They join over 700 peopleOver 100 people have been detained in connection with the attack so far. 20 suspected members of the Oath KeepersJanuary 6-related charges.
Federal agents have been investigating Rhodes since at least last springAgainst the advice of his lawyer, he agreed to an interview by the FBI. In that interview, he denied his and his organization’s role in the attack, claiming that he didn’t direct Oath Keepers to breach the Capitol threshold.
Federal prosecutors claim that they have evidence of deep connections between Rhodes, who prosecutors refer to as “Person One,” and the attack’s planning. This evidence includes communications recordsIt was revealed that Rhodes had begun sending messages encouraging people against the certification of the election results as early at November, just after the election.
“We aren’t getting through this without civil war. It’s too late. Prepare your mind, body, spirit,” Rhodes wrote in a group chat. “It will be a bloody and desperate fight. We will have a fight. That can’t be avoided.”
Documents show Rhodes continued to inspire right-wingers during the weeks that followed. Two days before the right-wing coup attempt, he posted an article on the Oath Keepers website urging members to “stand tall in support of President Trump’s fight to defeat the enemies foreign and domestic who are attempting a coup.”
Testimonies from Oath Keepers themselves also cast doubt on Rhodes’s claims. For more six monthsOath Keepers members have been cooperating to prosecutors. According to The New York Times, at least four Oath Keepers have said that the breach of the building was premeditated and that the goal was to stop the certification of President Joe Biden’s win over Donald Trump.
This is contrary to what Rhodes said in interviews. “We had no plan to enter the Capitol, zero plan to do that, zero instructions to do that, and we also had zero knowledge that anyone had done that until after they had done that,” Rhodes told The Washington PostLast year.
Other Oathkeepers leaders who were present at this attack were also involved with its planning. Jessica Watkins, OathKeepers member and leader for the Ohio State Regular Militia Militia members actively recruitedHe urged them to stand behind Trump in the months that followed the attack. On November 17, Watkins sent a message saying that she would “fight, kill and die for our rights” if Biden became president. Watkins was one of the first far-right militants to be elected president in January 2021. be indictedIn relation to the attack.
Beyond the attack on January 6, Rhodes and Oath Keepers have proven to be a dangerous, loosely organized group. During 2020’s movement for Black lives, Oath Keepers members would regularlyRhodes: Armed protestors flock to Rhodes has condemned activists in the movement for Black livesHe has used the movement as a way to recruit officers.
The Oath keepers were originally founded on antigovernment sentiments but they have since shifted. toward nationalismTrump began to believe the debunked conspiracy theories that have been propagated on the political right after his election. Recent leaks have revealed that Oath Keepers members are among those who were leaked to the member rolls. hold state and local officeThis indicates that extremist groups may be entering the mainstream Republican party.