© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Oath Keepers militia founder Stewart Rhodes uses a radio as he departs with volunteers from a rally held by U.S. President Donald Trump in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S. October 10, 2019. Picture taken October 10, 2019. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart/Fil
By Sarah N. Lynch
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Stewart Rhodes, the former Army paratrooper turned Yale-educated lawyer who founded the far-right Oath Keepers militia, is set on Thursday to be sentenced for seditious conspiracy and other crimes related to the U.S. Capitol attack, with prosecutors asking for 25 years in prison.
U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta is scheduled to sentence Rhodes, convicted in November by a federal court jury in Washington, at a hearing set for 9:30 a.m. EDT (1330 GMT). Mehta is due to sentence co-defendant Kelly Meggs, also convicted of seditious conspiracy, at 1:30 p.m. EDT (1730 GMT).
“Rhodes led a conspiracy of more than 20 U.S. citizens to forcibly oppose the lawful transfer of power following a presidential election,” prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memo to Mehta. “Such a direct assault on our democracy and total disregard for the rule of law warrants a substantial sentence.”
If Mehta follows the prosecution’s recommendation, it would represent the longest sentence for any of the 1,000-plus people charged in connection with the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack by supporters of Republican then-President Donald Trump in a failed bid to block Congress from certifying Democratic rival Joe Biden’s November 2020 election victory over Trump.
The longest sentence to date was 14 years in prison given to a Pennsylvania man who attacked police during the rampage.
In addition to seditious conspiracy – a felony charge involving attempting “to overthrow, put down or to destroy by force the government of the United States” – Rhodes was convicted of obstructing an official proceeding and tampering with documents. Rhodes was acquitted of two other charges.
As part of their sentencing request, prosecutors asked the judge to give Rhodes, based on his “terroristic conduct,” a prison term longer than U.S. sentencing guidelines recommend.
His attorneys are asking the judge to give Rhodes no more time behind bars beyond that he already has served since his January 2022 arrest.
“The character of the Oath Keepers reflects the character of the man who created it,” his lawyers wrote in their sentencing memo. “With an unshakeable belief in the United States Constitution, both…
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