Long prison sentence for Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes

He was part of the crowds that stormed the US Capitol: Stewart Rhodes. Now a historic verdict has been passed against the man with the black eye patch.

The founder of the far-right US militia Oath Keepers, Stewart Rhodes, has been sentenced to 18 years in prison for the storming of the Capitol on January 6, 2021. The sentence against the 57-year-old for “seditious conspiracy” was announced on Thursday by a federal judge in the capital Washington. It is the highest prison sentence to date in connection with the violent attack on the US Congress two months after the November 2020 presidential election.

Prosecutors had asked for 25 years in prison for Rhodes. Among other things, she had requested that “terrorist behavior” be added as an aggravating factor. Judge Amit Mehta accepted the request, but his sentence remained below the prosecutor’s request.

“Armed Rebellion”

Rhodes was found guilty of “seditious conspiracy” in November. The offense is aimed at, among other things, attempts to overthrow the US government and is rarely used in the US.

Prosecutors had accused the Oath Keepers, who were charged on five counts, of planning an “armed rebellion” against the US government. Accordingly, the extremists wanted to prevent the transfer of power from President Donald Trump to his successor Joe Biden.

Bought weapons and combat gear

Members of the Oath Keepers, classified as anti-government and violent, along with hundreds of other radical Trump supporters, stormed the Capitol when Biden’s victory in the presidential election was to be finally confirmed there.

According to the indictment, ex-soldier Rhodes, known for his black eye patch, and the other accused Oath Keepers had bought weapons and combat gear and stored them in a hotel near the capital. Rhodes acted “like a general on the battlefield” during the storming of the Capitol, prosecutor Jeffrey Nestler said during the trial last fall.

Rhodes has denied planning an attack on the Capitol. According to him, he and his militia only wanted to ensure security at a Trump rally in Washington on the day in question.