Statements And Acts By Stewart Rhodes In Furtherance of the OathKeepers Conspiracy
Stewart Rhodes, President of the OathKeepers, and ten others were charged with sedition today. Nine of those ten others were previously charged other offenses, but Rhodes and Edward Vallejo are newly indicted. This represents the first use of the sedition statute at 18 U.S.C. 2384. That statute requires that the government prove the accused conspired to:
“to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States.”
As you can see, conspiracy to use force is an essential element of this offense. In addition, proving any conspiracy requires showing that the defendant committed at least one act in furtherance of the conspiracy. This article will examine the statements and acts by Stewart Rhodes alleged to create the conspiracy, and acts done in furtherance of the conspiracy. I will be going directly from the indictment and providing the paragraph number for that.
- Rhodes in encrypted chat to OathKeeper leaders on November 5, 2020 (just two days after the election): “We aren’t getting; through this without civil war. Too late for that. Prepare your mind, body, spirit.” ¶ 18a.
- Rhodes on November 7th in another chat to OathKeepper leaders. “We must now do what the people of Serbia did when Milosevic stole their election. Refuse to accept it and march en-mass on the nation’s Capitol.” ¶ 18b. The use of the word “on” in this sentence seems deliberate. The message included a video with a “step by step” statement of how the Serbian election was overturned. That included, quote: “We stormed Parliament.”
- On November 9th Rhodes held a private “GoToMeeting” in which (per the indictment) he “outlined a plan to stop the lawful transfer of presidential power, including preparations for the use of force, and urged those listening to participate.” ¶ 19.
- On December 11th in another chat with OathKeeper leadership Rhodes stated: “It will be a bloody and desperate fight. We are going to have a fight. That can’t be avoided.” ¶ 23.
- On December 14th, the day the electoral college votes were cast, Rhodes published on the OathKeeper website (per the indictment) “advocating for the use of force to stop the lawful transfer of Presidential power.” ¶ 25.
- On December 23d Rhodes published again on the OathKeepers website. He stated that “tens of thousands of patriot Americans, both veterans and non-veterans, will already be in Washington D.C. and many of us will have our mission-critical gear stowed nearby just outside D.C. ” He added that he and many others might have “take to arms in defense of our God given liberty.” ¶ 31. For the record, the “mission-critical gear” referred to were large numbers of assault rifles and ammunition as part of “quick reaction forces” (QRFs) stationed just outside of D.C. to be called upon when needed in furtherance of the conspiracy. These QRFs were, in fact, established and standing by on January 6th.
- On December 25th Rhodes published in an OathKeeper chat: “I think Congress will screw him [President Trump] over. The only chance we/he has is if we scare the shit out of them and convince them it will be torches and pitchforks time if they don’t do the right thing.” ¶ 34.
- Per the indictment, quote: “On December 30, 2020, RHODES purchased two night-vision devices and one, weapon sight for approximately $7,000 and shipped the items to another individual in Virginia, near Washington, D.C., where they arrived on January 4, 2021.” ¶ 37. For the record, that is more than enough to constitute an act in furtherance of the conspiracy.
- On December 31st Rhodes wrote in a leadership chat: “There is no standard political or legal way out of this.” ¶ 40.
- I’m just going to quote ¶ 44 of the indictment in it’s entirety:
On December 31, 2020, an Arizona QRF team member messaged RHODES on Signal that the team member, VALLEIO, and others were coming to Washington, D.C., and that everyone. coming has their own technical equipment and knows how to use it,” adding a “winky face” emoji. RHODES responded, “awesome!” The Arizona QRF team member also said that the group would have “rifles” and “man power.”
- On January 1 and 2,, Rhodes spent approximately $5,000 on firearms and related equipment, including a shotgun, scope, magazines, sights, optics, a bipod, a mount, a case of ammunition. ¶ 47. That’s now $12,000 Rhodes has spent on firearms and ammunition in just the last week leading up to January 6th.
- On January2d RHODES messaged coconspirator Meggs on Signal, “If you want to stow weapons with [the operation leader] you can. He’ll have a secure car trunk or his hotel room (or mine).” Meggs responded, “Last night call… we discussed a QRF RP [that stands for quick reaction for rally point] so we may do that. As well as the NC team has a hotel room close by.” Rhodes messaged, “Ok. We WILL have QRF, this situation calls for it.” ¶ 50.
- I will again quote ¶ 57 in its entirety.
On January 3, 2021, RHODES departed Granbury, Texas, and began traveling to the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. While traveling, Rhodes spent approximately $6,000 in Texas on an AR-platform rifle and firearms equipment, including sights, mounts, triggers, slings, and additional firearms attachments.
Rhodes has now spent $18,000 in firearms and firearms related equipment in the week leading up to January 6th.
- Now quoting from ¶ 61 in its entirety:
On January 4, 2021, while still traveling toward the Washington, D.C.metropolitan area, RHODES spent approximately $4,500 in Mississippi on firearms equipment, including sights, mounts, an optic plate, magazine, and various firearms parts.
Rhodes has now spent $22,500 in firearms and related equipment in the week leading up to January 6th. ¶ 62 then explains this equipment and that provided by others was then transported into the D.C. area.
- At about 6:30 in the morning of January 6th Rhodes messaged on the leadership chat that: “We will have several well equipped QRFs outside DC. And there are many, many others, from other groups, who will be watching and waiting on the outside in case of worst case scenarios.” ¶ 70.
- At 1:30 pm on the 6th Rhodes responded to a leadership chat message suggesting that Antifa had breached the Capitol saying: “Nope. I’m right here. These are Patriots . . . Pence is doing nothing. As I predicted . . . the patriots are taking it into their own hands. They’ve had enough . . . Hey the founding generation stormed the governors mansion in MA and tarred and feathered his tax collectors. And they seized and dumped tea in water . . . That’s where we are now. Next comes our “Lexington.” ¶¶ 77 and 78.
- A bit before 2 pm Rhodes received a message again asking if those who were just beginning to breach the Capitol were patriots or those “in disguise as Patriots.” Rhodes responded with absolute clarity: “Actual Patriots. Pissed off patriots. Like the Sons of Liberty were pissed off patriots.” ¶ 79.
- “At around 2:12 p.m., RHODES entered the restricted Capitol grounds on the far east side of the Capitol.” ¶ 83.
- At 2:24 pm. RHODES sent MEGGS a message stating, “Go to SOUTH side of US Capitol . . . That’s where I am going . . . They have taken ground at the capital. We need to regroup any members who are not on mission . . . Come to South Side of Capitol on steps” ¶¶ 88 and 89. As you can see Rhodes now actively coordinating the OathKeepers assault on the Capitol.
- At 3:09 Rhodes received a message that media was reporting members of Congress were being given gas masks and trying to get out. Rhodes responded “Fuck em” and posted a picture of people storming the Capitol. ¶ 108.
- At 3:30 Rhodes messaged the Leadership Signal Chat, “Anyone in DC who is not tasked with a security detail, come to US Capitol on the Supreme Court side. Come Capitol on the NE corner.” ¶ 123.
The Complaint then describes Rhodes and others in OathKeepers meeting in a restaurant to celebrate the days events and plan what was to come next.
- At 7:30 Rhodes messaged the Leadership Chat, “Thousands of ticked off patriots spontaneously marched on the Capitol… You ain’t seen nothing! yet . . . “Patriots entering their own Capitol to send a message to the traitors is NOTHING compared to what’s coming.” ¶ 126.
Between January 10–14, as the Biden inauguration approached, Rhodes spent another $17,500 on firearms and related equipment. ¶ 129. That now totals $40,000.
- On inauguration day Rhodes messaged OathKeeper leaders urging them to organize local militias to oppose President Biden’s Administration. ¶ 134. As you can see the threat of violence from this group was ongoing.
This article focused on one person, Rhodes. Ten other people are named in the indictment and much of the context of how they interacted with Rhodes is missing in the name of brevity here. But even in reviewing this you can see the meeting of the minds that was then acted on.
What you can see from this is that Rhodes inspired the OathKeepers to violence on January 6th, organized that violence, prepared heavily armed “QRF” teams nearby and coordinated the assault on the Capitol as it was happening. He, and others, then discussed and prepared for future violence in association with Biden’s inauguration (that did not materialize).
Sedition is a conspiracy against the government. It happened here.