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You are here News Politics Garland holds briefing on conviction of Oath Keeper leader for seditious conspiracy

Garland holds briefing on conviction of Oath Keeper leader for seditious conspiracy

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Garland holds briefingThe seditious conspiracy convictions of Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes and another leader in the far-right extremist group show that jurors are willing to hold accountable not just the rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, but those who schemed to subvert the 2020 election.

Tuesday’s verdict, while not a total win for the Justice Department, gives momentum to investigators just as the newly named special counsel ramps up his probe into key aspects of the insurrection fueled by President Donald Trump’s lies of a stolen election.

As Democrats call for charges to be brought against Trump and the House committee investigating the insurrection weighs making a criminal referral to the Justice Department, the Oath Keepers verdict may embolden investigators to build cases against other major players behind the push to keep Trump in power.

The fact that they got two convictions for seditious conspiracy gives DOJ the confidence that they can pursue other higher-ups and charge seditious conspiracy as well because certainly a D.C. jury accepted it,” said Jeffrey Jacobovitz, a Washington white-collar criminal defense attorney. “If I’m one of the other leaders of the insurrection, I would be very concerned about what kind of charges they could bring.”

They are the first seditious conspiracy convictions at trial in decades and are significant because the legally complex charge can be difficult for juries to grasp and for prosecutors to prove, especially in an ultimately unsuccessful plot. The sprawling Capitol riot probe has already led to the arrest of more than 900 people across the U.S. and could result in hundreds of more charges, but Rhodes and his associates were the first to stand trial on the Civil War-era offense.

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