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Tags: rhodes | capitol riot | law | sedition | bail

Defense Lawyers Try to Free Oath Keepers Leader Rhodes Before Trial

Defense Lawyers Try to Free Oath Keepers Leader Rhodes Before Trial

Stewart Rhodes, leader of the far-right Oath Keepers group. (Collin County, Texas, Sheriff's Office via AP)

By    |   Wednesday, 16 February 2022 08:56 PM EST

Defense attorneys for Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes tried Wednesday to free him from jail before his trial on charges of seditious conspiracy regarding the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol.

Defense lawyer James Bright appeared on Wednesday before District Judge Amit Mehta  for a detention hearing to try to get Rhodes, who has been jailed on the charges since his arrest in Texas on Jan. 13, released from custody, The Hill reported.

Federal prosecutors asked that Rhodes be kept in custody due to his access to guns and being a potential flight risk.

Bright countered that there was no conspiracy, only heated rhetoric leading up to the riot.

''I think that speaks, in all honesty, your honor, to the rationality of whether there ever was — outside of this purely bombastic language and the specter of the preparation — of whether there was actually ever a true seditious conspiracy that existed,'' The Hill quoted Bright as saying to the judge.

Rhodes, 56, and other members of the group were charged with seditious conspiracy in connection with bringing crates of weapons with them to a hotel in Arlington, Virginia, during a rally and subsequent events on Jan. 6 at the Capitol, The Washington Post reported.

Five people died in the riot and in its immediate aftermath, including Ashli Babbitt — who was shot and killed by a Capitol police officer — and Officer Brian Sicknick, who suffered a stroke and died the next day.

Bright noted in the hearing that the Oath Keepers did not use weapons that day at the Capitol.

''The large-picture view in this case is that the defendant is alleged to have been leading a plot to oppose by force the transfer of presidential power in this country,'' Kathryn Rakoczy, a prosecutor with the D.C. U.S. Attorney's Office, said on Wednesday.

''That plot, and the execution of that plot, ultimately included an attack on the United States Capitol while the Congress was convened to certify and deal with objections to the presidential election.''

In denying bail and ordering Rhodes' detention in January, U.S. Magistrate Kimberly Priest Johnson noted his role as leader of the Oath Keepers in determining how ''dangerous'' Rhodes was.

''Defendant's authoritative role in the conspiracy, access to substantial weaponry, and ability to finance any future insurrection, combined with his continued advocacy for violence against the federal government, gives rise to a credible threat that Defendant's release might endanger others by fostering the planning and execution of additional violent events, Johnson's order said.

Mehta, an appointee of former President Barack Obama, said he would not immediately rule on the motion to release Rhodes, but if he were to, Rhodes would face conditions ''about as strict as it gets without being behind bars,'' The Hill reported.

The next hearing is set for Friday, The Hill reported.

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Newsfront
Defense attorneys for Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes tried Wednesday to free him from jail before his trial on charges of seditious conspiracy regarding the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol.
rhodes, capitol riot, law, sedition, bail
470
2022-56-16
Wednesday, 16 February 2022 08:56 PM
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