Rhodes, a lawyer, ex-paratrooper and founder of the far-right group Oath Keepers, is the first person to be convicted of “colluding to incite sedition”.
Rhodes and 10 other members of his organization were detained in January. Prosecutors had recordings and encrypted messages sent to each other by members of the group. They served as evidence that Rhodes and members of his group, shortly after the announcement of the results of the 2020 presidential election, began to prepare an “armed rebellion” to prevent the transfer of power to the new head of state.
“Conspiracy to incite rebellion” is the most serious allegation made in relation to the storming of the Capitol.
During closing speeches, the prosecution drew attention to statements and interviews made by Rhodes, who repeated false claims of “stealing” elections and calling for “regime change.”
The defense argued that Rhodes was wrongly portrayed as the main figure in the riots and the “face” of the storming. “If you want to give someone’s face to the events of January 6, let it be “the face of (President) Trump, right-wing media or politicians, people who created this narrative,” the lawyer said.-
Before sentencing, the judge said Rhodes remained “a lasting threat to the United States.” He added that it was clear that he “wanted to turn democracy into violence” and that he would be ready to “raise arms against the government” on his release. (PAP)