'If anything is seditious conspiracy, this is it': Inside the 'strong' case against the Oath Keepers
Federal prosecutors have a forceful case against the ten alleged Oath Keepers members charged with seditious conspiracy for their alleged role in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
"The charges are significant because they allege that the January 6 attack went beyond disorderly conduct and assaults on law enforcement, instead constituting an organized and violent attempt to stop the democratic transfer of power," the Guardian reported Friday. "But unlike some previous uses of seditious conspiracy, many experts say the case against the Oath Keepers is strong."
Reporter Nick Robins-Early interviewed Joshua Braver, an assistant professor of law at the University of Wisconsin.
“This case is different. This case is a plan that was executed and the federal government is on much stronger grounds,” Braver said. “If anything is seditious conspiracy, this is it.”
Seditious conspiracy charges can result in 20 years in prison upon conviction.
"The case against Rhodes and the Oath Keepers is more straightforward than past seditious conspiracy charges against the far right, experts say, both because there appears to be extensive evidence of planning prior to the Capitol attack and because numerous members took tangible actions to breach the Capitol," the Guardian reported. "There are now over 700 people charged with crimes related to the insurrection, but the majority of those cases have involved less complex charges that don’t require proving the type of coordination and planning that seditious conspiracy indictments involve."
Read the full report.
'What did you see? Who was there?': Feds home in on links between Jan. 6 rioters and Trump’s inner circle
Federal investigators are asking Jan. 6 rioters about their possible links with Donald Trump's inner circle.
Prosecutors have asked members of the Oath Keepers, who are accused of organizing the attack, and even defendants facing low-level charges about their contacts with Trump allies such as Roger Stone, reported USA Today.
“They asked a ton of open-ended questions when I was allowed to be there," said Brian Lockwood, an attorney representing Oath Keepers member Mark Grods. "What happened next? What did you see? Who was there? What did you see them doing? What were they wearing? What were they doing? Did you see them communicating with other people?"
Brandon Straka, a MAGA influencer who pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and was sentenced to probation, was also questioned about his possible contacts with Trump's inner circle.
“During the interviews, the government was focused on establishing an organized conspiracy between defendant, President Donald J. Trump, and allies of the former president, to disrupt the Joint Session of Congress on January 6,” said his attorney Bilal Essayli. “Defendant answered all questions truthfully and denied the existence of any such plot.”
Legal experts say that type of questioning is standard for large-scale cases like the insurrection, and doesn't necessarily mean that Trump or his associates are targets of the investigation.
"The technical term for Trump and most people the government is asking about this early is probably ‘subjects,’” said Patrick Cotter, who has prosecuted organized crime cases. “Subjects are people about whom the feds have not made any determination: They may turn out to be targets or witnesses."
Investigators are particularly interested in the rioters' expectation that Trump would invoke the Insurrection Act to prevent the certification of Joe Biden's election win, according to court records and defense lawyers.
“I'm just a small lawyer down in Mobile,” said Lockwood, the Oath Keeper's lawyer, "but I'm confident that the government believes that the intent of the Jan. 6 incident was to trigger the president at the time to invoke the Insurrection Act."
A Japanese gunman was arrested after he allegedly took a doctor hostage and shot him, police said Friday, with local media reporting that the victim had died from his wounds after the 11-hour standoff.
'Gun crime is rare in Japan, where the possession of firearms is strictly controlled, and residents reacted with shock to the attack in Fujimino, a city near Tokyo.
"The man used a hunting rifle to fire at the victim with the intention of killing him," a local police spokesman told AFP.
He said the 66-year-old suspect had been arrested after the ordeal which played out on Thursday night at his home, during which he reportedly also shot a physiotherapist who is severely injured.
The doctor, the physiotherapist and a third team member were on a condolence visit to the suspect's home after the death of his mother when the attack took place, Japanese media reports said.
Public broadcaster NHK said the suspect had moved to the area about three years ago and had been caring for his infirm mother alone.
"He said it was difficult for him to join (voluntary activities in the neighborhood) as his mother is sick," a local resident told NHK.
"He was caring for her... since he moved in. He hasn't gone out often, so I haven't had much chance to see him," the man said.
A 19-year-old student who lives nearby told Kyodo News he had heard the gunshot on Thursday night. "I was scared. I wanted to leave the area quickly," he said.
The third member of the medical team reportedly rushed to a police station after being pepper-sprayed during the incident.
Police had spoken to the gunman on the phone throughout the night to try and convince him to release the hostage, the reports said.
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