And so it continues.
As my colleague Bob Hoge reported in November, Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes was convicted of seditious conspiracy, a Civil War-era charge of conspiring against the authority of the U.S. — a serious but lesser counterpart to treason — for his role in the Jan. 6 riot and breach of the U.S. Capitol Building.
On Monday, four more Oath Keepers were convicted of the same crime.
Seditious conspiracy is described in USC 2384 as:
If two or more persons in any State or Territory, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof, they shall each be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both.
As reported by NBC News, a jury on Monday convicted the four Oath Keeper members in the second batch of guilty verdicts related to the extremist group’s efforts to block the certification of the 2020 presidential election. In related news, as I reported, three active-duty U.S. Marines on Monday were formally charged with participating in the January 6 Capitol riot, one of whom told authorities he was “waiting for the big boogaloo,” which he later described as “Civil War 2.”
In addition to the seditious conspiracy conviction, the four Oath Keepers — Roberto Minuta, Joseph Hackett, David Moerschel, and Edward Vallejo — were also convicted of obstruction of an official proceeding and conspiring to obstruct.
The four were ordered by U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta to be put under 24-hour house arrest, pending sentencing, which, as described in the above description of seditious conspiracy, carries a fine, imprisonment of up to 20 years, or both.
Scott Weinberg, David Moerschel’s attorney, rejected to conspiracy conviction, as one might expect, telling reporters his client and the others were simply “swept up” by the goings-on:
[They] were swept up by the ‘Stop the Steal‘ nonsense that was pushed by the president. While people are responsible for their own actions, I think it’s important that all people take stock [and] take everything with a grain of salt, because when you follow somebody blindly, you end up in a terrible situation.
Exactly. The “end up in a terrible situation” part. As I suggested in my aforementioned Monday article (which of course didn’t rest well with some), “Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.” Hence the “grain of salt” argument means zero in a “Do the crime, do the time” sense.
Federal prosecutors said the four Oath Keepers used a “perverted version of American history” to justify their actions on Jan. 6, 2021:
Attacking the Capitol was a means to an end. January 6 was just a battle. The full conspiracy was to stop the transfer of power.
Here’s more, via NBC News:
Prosecutors said Vallejo was staged at a Virginia hotel with a stockpile of rifles — which they have called a “Quick Reaction Force” — while Hackett, Moerschel, and Minuta led groups to breach the Capitol.
The trial, which started Dec. 12, included testimony from Brian Ulrich, a member of the Oath Keepers’ Georgia chapter who had pleaded guilty to seditious conspiracy and obstruction of an official proceeding. Ulrich testified that he took part in the storming of the Capitol because he wanted to stop the counting of the Electoral College votes.
“There’s no other reason to go in that building at that point,” Ulrich said.
Manzo also pointed jurors to clips from a selfie-style video of Minuta, recorded in what appears to be his car. In the video, a furious Minuta yells about fake ballots, complains that Congress hasn’t done enough about the problem, and says children would become “slaves” if people don’t act.
“Millions will die,” Minuta said in another clip from the same video. “So what. So what. … I’m not afraid, and I’m ready to f***ing go.”
The Oath Keepers USA website describes the group as follows.
We Honor Our Constitutional Oath!
The Oath Keepers USA are a group of proud American Patriots who are dedicated to upholding the constitution of the United States. Our members have a long history of service to the United States as military, law enforcement, first responders and service oriented citizens, and continue to serve through community service, volunteer and emergency support.
Traditionally our mission has been to provide support in disasters to all those who need it, support search and rescue operations, assist law enforcement, and provide public education for emergency preparations.
Recently our mission has changed somewhat to meet current challenges, becoming a rapidly growing organization of Americans who want to have a say in the direction of our country, as such we have become more politically aware and active.
We have become increasingly concerned with the actions of our federal, state and local governments, news and social media companies, as well as the obvious bias of our federal agencies. The Oath Keepers USA has become a primary target of corrupt groups who are out to damage and destroy American freedom and liberties. As such we need the support of honest and ethical American’s who want to fight against this corruption.
We invite you to find out the truth about our organization and members, and if you are interested in supporting or joining our cause, we would be honored to serve alongside you!
The traditional mission of the Oath Keepers is commendable, however the changed mission, as described by member Brian Ulrich, to “stop the counting of the Electoral votes” was where the trouble began in earnest — and hardly comports with “upholding the Constitution of the United States.” Now, you (third-person) might believe you have the right to violate the Constitution in order to uphold it, but that’s not how it works, regardless of if you like it or not.
Moreover, where does that mindset end? When radical leftists decide they don’t like the results of an election, or that an election was “rigged” and “stolen” from them? Then what? Or, are you suggesting “What’s good for me isn’t good for thee”?
In a larger sense, it’s past time to put 2020 behind us. While some vehemently disagree for different reasons, I’ll add that among the lessons to be learned is that those who disagree with the results of elections should never again take the actions taken on January 6, 2021.