Far-Right Oath Keepers Founder Guilty in Jan. 6 Trial
What do you think of the sentence?
Updated May 25, 2023
- Founder Steward Rhodes of the far-right militia, the Oath Keepers, was sentenced to 18 years in prison for seditious conspiracy for his role in the Jan. 6 attack.
- The prosecutor sought a 25-year term. Before handing down the sentence, U.S. district judge Amit Mehta told Rhodes that he posed a continuous threat to the government, adding it was clear he "wants democracy in this country to devolve into violence." Mehta continued:
"The moment you are released, whenever that may be, you will be ready to take up arms against your government."
- Rhodes claimed he never went into the Capitol on Jan. 6 and that the prosecution was politically motivated:
"I'm a political prisoner and like President Trump my only crime is opposing those who are destroying our country."
- Prosecutors, however, made the case that the Oath Keepers founder and his leaders prepared an armed rebellion, including stashing arms at a Virginia hotel in order to make a quick course to Washington, D.C. The judge said:
"Mr. Rhodes directed his co-conspirators to come to the Capitol and they abided."
Updated May 4, 2023
What’s the story?
- Former chairman of the Proud Boys, Enrique Tarrio, and three other members of the far-right extremist group were found guilty of seditious conspiracy in a federal court in Washington, D.C.
- The four men were also convicted of obstructing an official proceeding, conspiracy to prevent an officer from discharging their duties, obstruction of law enforcement during a civil disorder, and destruction of government property valued over $1,000 during the Capitol attack on Jan 6, 2021.
- The defendants could face a maximum of 50 years in prison on the conspiracy counts alone.
What does this mean?
- These verdicts signal a win for the Justice Department as it officially secured convictions against top leaders of the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers for their roles in attempting to overthrow the 2020 election.
- Prosecutor Conor Mulroe told jurors during his closing argument last week:
“Politics was no longer something for the debating floor or the voting booth. For them, politics meant actual physical violence…And they liked it and they were good at it.”
- Prosecutors also placed former President Donald Trump at the center of the Proud Boys’ actions, as they told the jury that the defendants acted as “Donald Trump’s army” and fought “to keep their preferred leader in power no matter what the law or the courts had to say.” Lawyers argued Tarrio could not be blamed for Trump’s words, saying he is just a “scapegoat” for the Justice Department. In response, prosecutors reminded the jury that the Proud Boys member sent a message after the mob infiltrated the Capitol, reading, “Make no mistakes, we did this.”
What’s the story?
- Guy Wesley Reffitt was the first defendant to go to trial in the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) criminal inquiry into the Jan. 6 attacks. On Monday, a federal judge sentenced Reffitt to more than seven years in prison, which is the longest sentence thus far in a Capitol riot case.
What's the sentence?
- The sentence, handed down by Judge Dabney L. Friedrich, is at the lower end of the guideline sentence range. Prosecutors wanted Reffitt to face 15 years. Friedrich noted that her sentence — seven years and three months in prison, three years of probation, $2,000 in restitution, and court-mandated mental health treatment — is still significantly longer than any sentence given to the more than 800 people arrested in connection to the riot. Many of these people have struck plea bargains.
- The judge said the sentencing guidelines for Reffitt's case were two more years than if he had pleaded guilty and reached a plea deal.
- Reffitt was found guilty on five felony charges, including obstructing Congress’s certification of the 2020 presidential election, carrying a .40-caliber pistol during the riot, and two counts of civil disorder.
- Prosecutors and defense lawyers had been waiting to see how the obstruction charge would hold up in court, a rarely used count which has been central to many of the Jan. 6 cases. Judge Friedrich said Reffitt’s case was an unusual one due to the threats he made against his children when he discovered he might be included in a federal investigation of the riot.
- His son, Jackson Reffitt, testified that his father became radicalized leading up to the attack. Reffitt threatened his son and daughter to dissuade them from speaking to the authorities, telling them that “traitors get shot.”
- In the final remarks, Judge Friedrich stressed that while Reffitt’s actions were not as violent as many others on Jan. 6, they nonetheless put hundreds of people in danger. Reffitt described himself and others from the day as “patriots” and offered a brief apology for his actions. Friedrich doubted his sincerity and called his behavior the “antithesis of patriotism.”
“Not only are they not patriots, they are a direct threat to our democracy and will be prosecuted as such.”
What do you think of the sentence?
(Photo credit: Flickr/Geoff Livingston)
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Frankly, I think the sentence is too light. There has to be significant consequences for people involved in attacking out government. If they felt that they called to duty by the trump, I say so what! It does not chsnge what they did nor hiw they did it. If I walked into a store and walked out the door with an sppliance I would be arrested even if the devil told me to steal the appliance.The arrack on our government requires stiff and painful sentences to set a clear and compelling deterant to anyone who might ever consider participation in an insurrection ever again.
To light of a sentence, needs to be longer. I didn't serve this country for a hand slap for treason.
Not near harsh enough. This was an attempt to overthrow our Capital Hill. Then they found, someone was nothing but all talk, and threw them under the bus. It is such a shame normal good Americans believe the lies from a tyrants mouth. Then he would not even stand up for them. Thousands of good Americans believe these lies. I understand freedom of speech, but these folks are believing lies. This individual is NOT for the American people, but only for his kingdom.
I can't pick any emoji. Nothing about January 6th makes me happy or ambiguous. I do feel anger, but not towards the justice that has been finally served.
The appropriate emojis:
Sad face: January 6th was one of the most tragic, devastating days I have ever lived.
Confused face: Why did it take so long to find, prosecute these men? Why wasn't tRump and the swirl of scum who surrounded & supported him not on trial for inciting this insurrection? How is anyone okay with this?
Scared face: the events of January 6th were terrifying, but even more terrifying was the response by our government on that day and every day since then. The chief instigator and his followers are still as loud and entitled as ever. I do not believe January 6th will be a bleep on our history radar, but a preview of what is to come, as justice has not been swift nor harsh enough.
Does the punishment fit the crime? No! But it's a start. All these insurrectionists, especially the higher ups, think they can flaunt the law, ignore subpoenas, say, "The devil (Trump) made me do it.", and get a pass. Nope! Nope! Nope! Waiting on the DOJ to get going on this. Also tired of the 'a president has never been indicted', well it is now time for the Dumpsterfire to be the first! He's still stirring up the pot(ty).
JimK you are so right. This judge was way too lenient. This man had a choice and needs to take responsibility; 7 yrs is a gift. People are sitting in jail 10-30 yrs for marijuana possession. He is an insurrectionist and traitor. What can we expect with courts loaded with hand picked fascist judges who many are unqualified and are not true to their Oaths of office. The likes of my senator Toomey flies in the face of what is best for his constituents and our democracy The GQP politicians who participated in the insurrection shoukd have been temoved from office immediately
Is 7 years in prison better than most of the other punishments handed down on Jan. 6th rioters? Sure. Is it punishment enough? No. Understand that the DOJ was seeking at least 15 years in prison for Reffitt, who brought guns with him to the Capitol, said he wanted the death of congresspeople and was helping to lead the crowd into the Capitol building on January 6, 2021. Also, the judge who delivered the sentence happened to be a Trump-appointed judge! Gee, I wonder if the judge was possibly biased in favor of Trump's insurrectionists? Who knows? Honestly, any and all Trump-appointed judges should be banned from overseeing any of these January 6th cases since they maybe secretly pro-insurrection judges. Why else have they delivered the most lenient sentences on January 6 insurrectionists? Hmm? HMMMM!!!
After listening to his children and his wife, I'll have to say those kids are heroically well adjusted. Were they raised by their grandmother? This man deserved what he got, and then some.
Should have been life for treason!
Continuous threat to the government?
LMAO! What government is the judge referring too? The current corrupt government?
All of the trials in DC concerning January 6th are a scam and a sham.
Go after the real criminals, BLM and The Fascist group called ANTIFA.
Those groups spent 2 years destroying cities, killing police and civilians.
But nothing will ever happen to these groups. But we all know they are the Brown shirts for the Democrat Socialist party.
Release the Political Prisoners!
Others must be held accountable in this tragic attempt to overturn election results. President Trump still refuses to accept he lost. His delusional narcissistic behavior only confirms he does not belong in politics.
He and Members of Congress should be held accountable for their roles in support of this insurrection. With their speeches of support and encouragement, they are also guilty.
It was not patriotism, rather a political coup to overturn this election and lead us into autocracy; a president who ignored laws & protocol & believed a president held all the power to do as he pleased. We must ensure our elected officials work together for the good of country & ALL citizens. End the division, the political rhetoric & lies.
The American conservative right pretends worship free speech - until people or corporations they don't like exercise it !!! They clam to hate cancel culture and boycott - until they are the ones doing the canceling and the boycotting !!! They talk about being tough on crime and terror - until it is their side doing the crime and terrorizing !!!
Watch conservatives far right wing freakout over bud light or trashing and harassing workers and shoppers in target store and other locations is nothing more than terrorist and forcing there ideas and beliefs on others. The so called woke problem (Africans - American meaning of "woke" is being alert, aware and conscious to racial prejudice and discrimination, which all people should be aware of) is only a problem in the conservatives far right head !!
EWhat about 2021 rioters got bail from Democrats. Unequal justice-how about Lois Lerner?
I have read and listened to everything I can find. The January riot was not an insurrection. I understand the seriousness of the disruption caused in Congress, but the people involved should be charged with appropriate felonies and misdemeanors. Stop punishing these people and let the rioters of 2020 go free. Get a sense of lawfulness dolled out without regard to political affiliation.
Proud Boys, Oath Keepers etc. pose a clear and present danger to our Democracy. They must be crushed nefore they crush the rest of us!!!
I am glad these Oath Keepers have been openly declared guilty and given prison sentences for the January 6th attacks, but I think at least some of them should be sentenced to life in prison. I worry that they'll once again be a threat to our nation, our government, and innocent human lives after they're released.
I'm old school. Remember when, if you took over or tried to take over a country they marched you out to a brick wall and shot you in the head? Yea, that way it doesn't happen again. EVER!
I can not believe the leadership style of Nazi Ron DeSantis in Florida. No one says or does a thing about it. We are losing our Democratic Republic and all that are in a position to do something about it are silent. What the hell??????
It has been reported that FBI Agents Marcus Allen,Stephen Friend and Brett Gloss participated in the Jan. 6th insurrection. Why are they not in prison?
Before the insurrection, the Capitol Building was closed down for a day (the signs said, because of Covid and it is pictured on many of the pages of twitter). During that 'planned for shut down day'; the Capitol Building "recon tour group" of Andy Biggs of AZ, Lauren Boebert of CO, Matt Gaetz of FL, Louie Gosar of AZ, Marjorie Taylor Green of GA, Jim Jordan of OH, and Louie Gohmert of TX gave reconnaissance tours of the Capitol to Insurrectionists groups. The CCTV feeds from the Capitol recorded the whole thing. There are postings of the sign with date and reason for closing (Covid) and head shots of all of them laughing and having a great time. Why are they not in jail? The CCTV feeds from the Capitol have them all on tape giving reconnaissance tours of the Capitol to the Insurrectionist groups! This occured Jan 5th, 2021.
14th Amendment Section 3 - those found guilty of participating in insurrenction will be out of office forever. Good idea if you never want it to happen again, I think.
Steve Bannon, he threatened A.G. Bill Barr; Steve paid 601,000 for the Jan.6th Comm. to ignore him. He was sentenced to 4 months in jail and never served a day. He refused to cooperate with the investigation of the Jan 6th assault. He was supposed to get 6 months in jail for that in D.C.; In N.Y it was fraud in fundraising to build border in Mex, 2 counts felony counts of money laundering; 2 counts of regular money laundering, 2 more counts of regular money laundering;2 counts of conspiracy, one felony count of money laudering; 2 counts of conspiracy; AND1 count of scheme to defraud! HE NEVER DID A DAY IN JAIL FOR ANY OF IT. Trump pardoned him.
14th Amendment Section 4
The validity of the pubic debt of the United States, athorized by law, including debts for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.
Please share this information with people that you think can use it for the common good of our people of the United States and send me back a copy as well so I know that it was't changed or deleted.
Thank you for your time.
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This should not must not even be entertained! Let the chips fall FINALLY
He has been allowed free passes too many times at every level in every forum and made a mockery of 'law and order'
he should have been the first to be sentenced for jan 6! Is there any doubt that he is the main perpetrator, traitor?
shame on ALL who let this serial criminal, mobster, rapist, conman go scot free especially congress & scotus !
it's a start. it. gives me hope that since he wasn't in the capitol and was still convicted and will be serving time, that the top instigator will also be held accountable with jail time.
Rhodes and all that followed him in attacking Congress to stop the approval of the vote, literally attacked our government. That's treason! What Rhodes and the others got was a slap on the hand, and not what they deserved for the life they took, and all the dmage they caused! They should have been charged with TREASON against the United States! I can't believe that these armed people attacking our COUNTRY got off so lightly. Justice was not served! The Republicans that backed this insurection & helped these attackers should have been held responsible for all the damage caused by their actions! $30 million of damages were caused by these TRAITORS. I would guess that the 30 million dollars came from our tax dollars, adding to the national debt! There are still 134 Members of Congress (Republicans) that abetted the insurrection, and should have been removed from Congress under the 14th Amendment, Section 3! Now these same people are holding this country hostage by not increasing the debt ceiling to help pay off the debt caused by the Republican Party's cutting taxes to the wealthy, reducing income for our programs, and then spending more money! Every participant of Jan 6th should have been charged with TREASON!
The sad thing about this trial is that the leader of the pack, Trump, should also be on trial. These misguide men will go to jail for a coward who could not accept the fact like a man, that he losted the election.
We need to not have a repeat of Jan 6 when our country almost end up like Russia, and China
The Rhodes sentence is welcomed. Now it's time to go after the big kahuna...Trump and his merry gang must be held responsible as well!
Trumps run for the WH again is a huge farce and we are the laughing stock of the world to allow such a thing...
The sentence should have been LONGER
Personally I would have preferred public stoning then prison.
18 years sounds good as long as he serves ALL 18 years of that sentence. He is incapable of good behavior. He has proven that. His seditious behavior has not stopped even after his arrest. He still thinks that donald won the 2020 election!!
Life in prison with out parole would be better.
These people have threatened our country. do we want them to continue without any punishment?