Two militia leaders guilty of sedition in US Capitol riot
Published: Nov 30, 2022 07:47 PM
Jacob Anthony Chansley, aka

Jacob Anthony Chansley, aka "QAnon Shaman" (center), during the US Capitol riot on January 06, 2021. Photo: AFP

Two leaders of the far-right Oath Keepers militia, including founder Stewart Rhodes, were found guilty of sedition on Tuesday in the most high-profile case yet stemming from the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol by supporters of then-president Donald Trump.

A federal jury convicted Rhodes, 57, and Kelly Meggs, 53, leaders of the militia's Florida chapter, of the rarely pursued charge of seditious conspiracy, which carries up to 20 years in prison.

The 12-person jury acquitted three other members of the Oath Keepers - Kenneth Harrelson, Jessica Watkins and Thomas Caldwell - who faced the sedition charge, but it convicted them of lesser offenses.

Rhodes, an eyepatch-wearing former soldier and Yale law school graduate, and the four other group members were accused of plotting to keep Trump in power and overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election won by Democrat Joe Biden.

During the nearly two-week trial in Washington, prosecutors said the Oath Keepers "concocted a plan for an armed rebellion... plotting to oppose by force the government of the United States."

Hundreds of Trump supporters have been arrested for their roles in the assault on Congress but they have faced less serious charges than those lodged against Rhodes and the other Oath Keepers.

The jury deliberated for three days before reaching a verdict in the case, which the defendants characterized as a political trial carried out by the Biden administration against supporters of Trump.

US Attorney General Merrick Garland named a special counsel in November to oversee the investigation into Trump's own efforts to overturn the election result and the attack on Congress by his supporters.