Federal officials have arrested and charged 11 alleged members of the Oath Keepers extremist group — including its founder and leader, Stewart Rhodes — with seditious conspiracy charges linked to the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Rhodes, 56, is among the highest-profile people yet to be charged in connection with the riots. According to The Washington Post and CNBC, Rhodes was in Washington on the day of the riots but did not enter the Capitol.
Rhodes was arrested in Texas Thursday after a grand jury charged him and a core group of his followers with conspiracy charges linked to the events on Jan. 6. In a press release, the Department of Justice accused Rhodes and his followers of opposing "by force the execution of the laws governing the transfer of presidential power."
The DOJ alleges that Rhodes and the Oath Keepers used a "variety of manners and means" — including using "paramilitary combat tactics" and tactile gear to "breach and attempt to take control of the Capitol grounds...in an effort to prevent, hinder and delay the certification of the electoral college vote."
The 10 other alleged Oath Keepers members charged with seditious conspiracy are Thomas Caldwell, 67, of Berryville, Virginia; Joseph Hackett, 51, of Sarasota, Florida; Kenneth Harrelson, 41, of Titusville, Florida; Joshua James, 34, of Arab, Alabama; Kelly Meggs, 52, of Dunnellon, Florida; Roberto Minuta, 37, of Prosper, Texas; David Moerschel, 44, of Punta Gorda, Florida; Brian Ulrich, 44, of Guyton, Georgia and Jessica Watkins, 39, of Woodstock, Ohio.
The U.S. Code defines seditious conspiracy as when "conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States." The crime is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.