Four men who marched with militiamen inside the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, were convicted Monday of conspiracy to obstruct Congress, ending the third and final hearing examining the role of far-right members. The right team played in attack.
The four defendants — Sandra Parker, Laura Steele, Connie Meggs and William Isaacs — were found guilty on other charges, including destruction of government property and conspiring to prevent members of Congress from fulfilling their duties by certifying the 2020 results. Election.
The other two accused in the case – Ms. Parker’s husband, Benny Parker, and Michael Green, a close associate of Stuart Rhodes, head of the Oath Guards – avoided conviction on conspiracy charges, but both were found to have entered and stayed illegally. on the Capitol grounds.
The rulings, which came after more than a week of arguments in federal district court in Washington, Mr. Rhodes and five other members of his group were subsequently convicted in two separate trials on charges of treasonous conspiracy, a very significant number. None of the 1,000 people arrested in connection with the capital attack have been brought against anyone so far.
Mr. Rhodes and one of his top lieutenants, Kelly Meggs, the husband of Connie Meggs, were both convicted of treason in a trial that ended in November. In January, in another trial, four other Oath Guards – Roberto Minuta, Joseph Hackett, David Morschel and Edward Vallejo – were also found guilty of treason.
The defendants in the latest Oath Keepers trial never faced treason charges and often played less significant roles in the capital attack than in the previous two trials. A retired couple from Ohio, Mr. and Mrs. Parker, in the 60s and 70s, for example, Mr. Isaacs, as his attorney has repeatedly argued, suffers from severe autism.
However, the jury believed the prosecution’s claims that they violated the law by entering the Capitol or crossing outside barriers to enter restricted areas.
“They seized and claimed a building that was not theirs alone,” prosecutor Alexandra Hughes said of the defendants during her closing arguments this month. “They imposed their will in the democratic process. They have violated the principle that we all should follow.
The raids by three oath-keepers have now led to criminal charges against 15 members of the group, but crippled an organization that at its height had tens of thousands of supporters and conducted self-appointed surveillance missions in cities across the country for more than a decade. .
The situation with the Oath Keepers is in stark contrast to that of the Proud Boys, another far-right group whose leaders and members have faced charges in connection with January 6. Although five Proud Boys — including the group’s former leader Enrique Dario — are now on trial facing treason charges in the same federal court, the organization has been involved in far-right events and activities.
At the recent Oath Guard hearing, Mr. An ex-soldier appointed by Rhodes, Mr. Parker and Mr. Green, January. On 6 he was selected to serve as “Ground Commander” and fared better in the jury than the other defendants. None went into the Capitol that day, and jurors acquitted some of the charges they faced because they failed to convict others.
As with the other two tests, Mr. Rhodes’ statements also played an important role in this. Before the capital attack Mr. Prosecutors showed the jury encrypted messages Rhodes sent to his comrades, many of whom called for civil war.
Unless we fight back, with or without Trump, the 6th is going to drive the final nail in the coffin of this republic. “We had no choice.”
In building his case, after the government lost the election, Mr. The government explained how they supported Trump and believed his lies that the results of the vote were distorted by widespread fraud.
Prosecutors called Caleb Perry, a former oath keeper, to the stand and asked the jury to tell the jury how he and the defendants had participated in “a scuffle” with Kelly Meggs outside the Capitol shortly before entering the building. “We are going to go and stop the counting of votes,” said Mr. Mr. Mex told the team. Perry testified — a reference to the election certification process.
After the uproar, former police officer Ms. Parker, Ms. Mex, Mr. Isaacs and Mrs. Prosecutors showed how Steele moved into the Capitol, with half of the group headed toward the Senate and the other half moving anyway. House.
Each of the defendants sought to deny the allegations in their own way, Mr. Isaac’s lawyers said his autism gave him “mental blindness” during the riots and that he did not intentionally participate in the attack.
Mrs. Steele’s attorney told the jury he played an exceptionally minor role in the attack.
“She was there,” prosecutor Peter Cooper said during his closing statement, “just, in the background, doing nothing.”