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HomeInternationalStewart Rhodes testifies in Oath Keepers Jan. 6 seditious conspiracy trial

Stewart Rhodes testifies in Oath Keepers Jan. 6 seditious conspiracy trial


WASHINGTON — The founder of the far-right Oath Keepers organization is testifying in his own defense at his seditious conspiracy trial on Friday.

Stewart Rhodes is on trial along with Kelly Meggs, Kenneth Harrelson, Jessica Watkins and Thomas Caldwell in connection with their actions surrounding the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. The government rested its case on Thursday without calling cooperating witnesses who pleaded guilty to seditious conspiracy. Jurors did hear from two other Oath Keepers who pleaded guilty to other charges: One testified that he had prepared to say goodbye to his family and oppose the transfer of power “by any means necessary,” and another who testified that he thought he was “acting like a traitor” against his own government.

Rhodes is beginning his testimony on Friday morning and will likely continue on Monday, as jurors will only hear a half-day of testimony on Friday.

Over the course of five weeks of testimony, jurors have heard violent rhetoric from Rhodes and about his attempts to reach then-President Donald Trump and convince him to invoke the Insurrection Act to stay in power.

Some of the most damning evidence against Rhodes came from a recording made on Jan. 10, 2021, when Rhodes was speaking with someone who he believed could get a message to Trump. Rhodes, talking about Jan. 6, said in the recording that his “only regret” was that they did not have guns that day.

A government exhibit showing individuals associated with the Oath Keepers.
A government exhibit showing individuals associated with the Oath Keepers.U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia

“We should have brought rifles. We could have fixed it right then and there. I’d hang f—in’ Pelosi from the lamppost,” Rhodes said.

As the trial got started last month, Rhodes compared himself to Nelson Mandela, the anti-apartheid activist who spent 27 years in prison and later served as the first president of South Africa.

“Americans need to lose their fear of being indicted or put in prison. When you have a dictatorship you’re going to have dissidents,” Rhodes said. “Just like Nelson Mandela was willing to go to jail for life.”



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