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The US Department of Justice has filed seditious conspiracy charges against 11 attackers who participated in the assault on the Capitol on January 6, 2021including the leader of the far-right organization Oath Keepers, Stewart Rhodes.
The new charges approved by a grand jury on Wednesday and unsealed yesterday, allege that Rhodes and his co-defendants engaged in a conspiracy to forcibly oppose the legal transfer of presidential power by forcibly preventing, hindering, and delaying the execution of the laws governing the transfer of power.
With the move, prosecutors seek to dismiss the idea that last year’s was an unplanned raid on Capitol Hill by excited protesters.
Prior to these accusations, the federal authorities limited themselves to accusing those linked to the insurrection of conspiracy to obstruct legislative procedures.
A coldly calculated plan, federal prosecutors allege
The complaint, reviewed by the CNN network, includes details of the plans and logistics of the suspects, argues that the Oath Keepers recruited members, stockpiled weapons, and organized to try to overturn the outcome of the election in which Democratic President Joe Biden overtook Republican Donald Trump.
Prosecutors contend that the rioters continued with the plan to forcefully oppose the legal transfer of presidential power after the chaos unleashed on Capitol Hill in Washington failed to lead to the blocking of the electoral results that gave the advantage to Biden.
One of the defendants in the indictment said he traveled to Washington DC before January 6 for a scouting trip.
The documents also indicate that the defendants they hid guns in a Virginia hotel and they were prepared to quickly transport them to Washington DC along with others.
Federal authorities specify in the complaint that a member of the Oath Keeper, identified as Thomas Caldwell, who was arrested in January, made a reconnaissance trip to the US capital before the date of the assault. Additionally, prosecutors have communications sent by Rhodes to encourage the use of force in the attempted seizure of power.
“We are not going through this without a civil war. It’s too late for that. Prepare your body, mind and spirit,” Rhodes said on November 5, 2020, in a message on Signal. In December, Rhodes sent, in connection with the certification of the Electoral College that officialized Biden as president, that there was no political or legal way to refute the above.
Prosecutors previously revealed that Rhodes used the messaging service during the attack to communicate with other Oath Keepers members who were on Capitol Hill. “I only see Trump complaining. I don’t see any attempt on their part to do anything,” the extremist leader would have shared. “So the patriots are taking it into their own hands. They’ve had enough,” the defendant posted around 1:38 p.m. on the day of the assault.
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