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First ‘Seditious Conspiracy’ Charges Hit Oath Keepers, Others, Accused In Capitol Attack

First ‘Seditious Conspiracy’ Charges Hit Oath Keepers, Others, Accused In Capitol Attack

One popular right-wing talking point used to minimize the attack on the U.S. Capitol Building is that it couldn’t have been terrorism or an attempted insurrection, since nobody involved has been charged with these specific titled crimes. Well, there are now officially charges of seditious conspiracy, against nearly a dozen defendants, including an Oath Keepers leader.

FORT WORTH, TX – FEBRUARY 28: Stewart Rhodes, founder of Oath Keepers, told The Washington Post via Getty Images, February 28, 2021 in Fort Worth, Texas, that the government is trying to inflate the rogue actions of a few members into an alleged conspiracy committed by the organization on Jan. 6, 2021. (Photo by Aaron C. Davis/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Evidence surfaced early on showing that some groups and individuals had made plans for the attack in advance, including sharing maps and discussing attacks on police. Still, some Republicans have tried to minimize or deflect, accusing one individual in the crowd of being an FBI plant who incited the entire thing (despite the fact that Trump’s supporters showed up armed and armored) and downplaying the severity.

Now, according to a CNN breaking story, 11 defendants accused in the attack, including Stewart Rhodes, leader of the Oath Keepers extremist group, have been charged with seditious conspiracy.

Reuters reported months ago that a law enforcement source had warned that there may never be any seditious conspiracy charges, despite early threats of the same, because of the difficulty prosecutors have had in past in making those charges stick against far-right activists.

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It’s significant, both because a seditious conspiracy charge specifically accuses the defendants of a collective attempt “to overthrow, put down or to destroy by force the government of the United States” and because, if prosecutors held back on using these charges, using them now may indicate confidence in making them stick.

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