DOJ unveils new signal messages from oath-keeper leader



CNN
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Swearing-in leader Stewart Rhodes will be jailed awaiting trial, a federal judge in Washington, D.C., ruled Friday, after prosecutors uncovered new Signal app messages where Rhodes allegedly “revealed” on Jan. The final nail in the coffin of our republic”. and instructed his followers to be ready for violence.

Messages from the encrypted app, which were presented during hearings on Wednesday and Friday, purportedly show how Rhodes advocated for then-President Donald Trump to invoke the Insurgency Act. If Trump didn’t, prosecutors allege, Rhodes repeatedly suggested that his followers should be prepared to act without Trump’s support.

“Be prepared for a big drop on the 6th to 8th and be ready to do it yourself,” a message read aloud to the court said.

“He should know that if he does not act, we will. He has to understand that we will have no choice,” said another message.

After the riot, Rhodes reportedly sent a message to aides that if Trump failed to enact the Insurgency Act before leaving office, “the Patriots should … be prepared to follow the same path as the Founding Fathers.”

Prosecutors used the messages as evidence that Rhodes is too dangerous to get out of prison while he awaits trial. On Friday, Federal District Judge Amit Mehta agreed to keep him in custody.

Mehta said on Friday that Rhodes presents a clear and tangible threat, calling him an “extremely sophisticated person” and that there was “simply no way” to mitigate the risk to public safety Rhodes.

“There is considerable communication that suggests Mr. Rhodes was encouraging others to prepare for violence,” Mehta said. “The words he used were quite graphic, with bloody revolutions and the like.”

Mehta also said that the decision to detain Rhodes was not about his right to freedom of expression. “I am the first to recognize that there is broad protection under the First Amendment for speech… but Mr. Rhodes is not being accused of just speaking. He is being charged with taking action to prevent authentication of the Electoral College vote, Being charged with planning and preparing people.”

Rhodes has been in prison since his arrest in mid-January on charges that he led a seditious plot to overthrow the presidential transfer of power from Donald Trump to Joe Biden in January 2020.

Rhodes has pleaded not guilty to treasonous conspiracy charges and other federal charges. He and 10 other alleged members of the keeper of the oath are due to go to trial in July.

During a preliminary detention hearing on Wednesday, prosecutors said Rhodes was a “leader in the plot” who had a “particularly dangerous role”.

Defense lawyers argued that there was a lack of evidence that Rhodes conspired with others before, during, or after January 6, adding that Rhodes’ cooperation with the government lasted more than a year after the Capitol riot. shows that their escape is unlikely and is not a danger to the public.

But Mehta did not agree with this.

“The evidence is strong enough that it is unlikely that Mr. Rhodes did not know, at least if not the order [members of the Oath Keepers] At the Capitol,” said Mehta, Oath Keepers – an organization known for recruiting former military and police officers – “will do nothing without the blessings of their commanding officer.”

Rhodes’ attorneys also said the Oath Keepers were not prone to violence and had previously deployed rapid response forces to two other DC events in Virginia, they had provided security without incident.

Only a few dozen Jan 6 defendants have been detained while they await trial. The standard of keeping anyone in pre-trial detention is very high, and federal judges in Capitol riot cases have reserved those orders for defendants accused of violence, defendants with troubled criminal histories, and those who have been accused of rioting against Rhodes. Like, accuse him of playing a leadership role in the conspiracy. with others.

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