Oath taking leader and 10 others accused of ‘traitor’

The new indictment, handed down by a grand jury on Wednesday and made public on Thursday, alleges that Rhodes and his co-conspirators “conspired to oppose, prevent, obstruct or delay by force the lawful transfer of the presidency.” were involved in the execution of laws governing the transfer of power.”The latest court filing showed that Oath Keeper Thomas Caldwell, who was arrested in January, claimed to have made a reconnaissance trip to Washington, DC, before January 6. The indictment also puts forward previously undisclosed communications Rhodes is accused of, which prosecutors say encouraged the use of force to oppose a legitimate transfer of power.

“We’re not going through this without a civil war. It’s too late for that. Prepare your mind, body, and spirit,” Rhodes reportedly said in a signal message on November 5, 2020. In December, Rhodes – according to the indictment – wrote about the Electoral College certification that “there is no standard political or legal way out of it.”

Prosecutors have previously said that Rhodes used the signal during the attack to communicate with other members of the oath-taking who were at the Capitol.

“I see Trump complaining. I see no intention of him doing anything,” Rhodes reportedly wrote. “So the patriots are taking it into their own hands. They have had enough,” he reportedly said at the signal at 1:38 p.m. that day, shortly after the siege began.

Additionally, the indictment states that Oath Keepers from three different states, including newly charged Edward Vallejo, kept weapons at a hotel in Virginia as part of a rapid reaction force.

The allegations mark a dramatic turnaround in the Justice Department’s January 6 investigation. Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a speech commemorating the Capitol attack last week that the department was “committed to holding all January 6 offenders, at any level, accountable under the law—whether they were present that day or otherwise criminal.” Were solely responsible for the attack on our democracy.”

The Justice Department had so far been careful not to advance the idea of ​​treason, instead accusing defendants affiliated with right-wing groups of conspiracy to obstruct Congressional proceedings on January 6. But rarely used, politically loaded and has been difficult for the Justice Department to use successfully against defendants in the past.

Previously, some Biden administration officials believed that using the charge of treason could politicize the Justice Department’s prosecution of the Capitol attackers, and the investigation was followed by former top prosecutor Michael Sherwin on CBS’s “60 Minutes”. But said that the department believes in conspiracy to sedition. can be charged.

Rhodes is also interested in the January 6 investigation of the House, which issued summons to him and his organization in November for a statement and documents related to the events of that day.

CNN reported in July that Rhodes gave a voluntary interview to the FBI and that investigators confiscated his cell phone. He has denied all wrongdoing.

According to previous court filings submitted by the Justice Department in other cases, Rhodes said in a November 2020 online meeting, “We’re going to defend the president, the duly elected president, and we ask him to do what needs to be done.” To save our country. Because if you’re not the people, you’re going to have a bloody, bloody civil war and a bloody — you can call it a rebellion, or you can call it a war or a fight.”

Rhodes’ attorney, Jonathan Moseley, confirmed the arrest.

This story has been updated with additional details.

CNN’s Marshall Cohen contributed to this report.

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