US: Far-right Oath Keepers founder pleads not responsible to sedition

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Stewart Rhodes is charged with seditious conspiracy in relation to the US Capitol assault on January 6 final 12 months.

The founding father of the far-right Oath Keepers militia group has pleaded not responsible to seditious conspiracy fees for his alleged function in the lethal assault on the United States Capitol final 12 months.

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Wearing handcuffs and leg irons, Stewart Rhodes made a short preliminary look in federal courtroom in Plano, Texas, on Friday within the custody of US Marshals.

Rhodes, 56, is probably the most high-profile defendant of greater than 725 charged thus far for allegedly collaborating within the January 6, 2021 assault on the Capitol constructing in Washington, DC.

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A mob of Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol that day shortly after the previous Republican president delivered an incendiary speech during which he repeated his false claims that the 2020 US election had been marred by widespread fraud.

The US Justice Department will request that Rhodes be detained whereas he awaits trial, a prosecutor mentioned at Friday’s listening to.

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James Lee Bright, a lawyer for Rhodes, advised reporters his consumer intends to struggle the costs.

“He believes he will be found not guilty,” Bright mentioned, including that Rhodes will oppose the federal government’s request for pretrial detention. “He has no reason to flee. He has no passport. He has nowhere to go,” Bright mentioned.

Rhodes was charged earlier this week together with greater than a dozen different members and associates of the Oath Keepers, who authorities say got here to Washington, DC, intent on stopping the certification of President Joe Biden’s election victory.

The indictment portrayed Rhodes as a ringleader who warned his members to organize for a “bloody and desperate fight” to forestall Biden from turning into president.

Prosecutors mentioned that starting in late December 2020, Rhodes used non-public encrypted communications to plan to travel to the US capital on January 6, 2021. He and others deliberate to deliver weapons to the realm to assist assist the operation, they mentioned.

“While certain Oath Keepers members and affiliates breached the Capitol grounds and building, others remained stationed just outside of the city in quick reaction force (QRF) teams,” the Justice Department mentioned in a press release on Thursday.

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“According to the indictment, the QRF teams were prepared to rapidly transport firearms and other weapons into Washington, D.C., in support of operations aimed at using force to stop the lawful transfer of presidential power.”

The indictment additionally says Rhodes spent 1000’s of {dollars} stockpiling gear and weapons, together with an AR-15 rifle, night time imaginative and prescient goggles and ammunition.

The Oath Keepers deal with recruiting present and former police, emergency providers and navy members. The far-right group believes the federal authorities is encroaching on its rights.

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