In a motion seeking his release from jail filed Friday, attorneys for Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes confirmed reports that members of the militia group were expecting former president Donald Trump to impose martial law on Jan. 6.
"They were not there to storm the Capitol, to stop the certification, to takeover (sic) the government," Rhodes' attorneys wrote in the 41-page motion. "They were waiting for President Trump to invoke the Insurrection Act. He did not, so Rhodes and the others did nothing."
New York Times reporter Alan Feuer wrote in response to the motion: "Oath Keeper(s) leader Stewart Rhodes says he was waiting for Trump to invoke the Insurrection Act on (Jan. 6) — an order that never came — thus isn't guilty of sedition. A logical question: Why was Rhodes apparently convinced Trump was going to effectively impose martial law that day?"
Rhodes is one of 11 members of the Oath Keepers charged with seditious conspiracy in connection with the Capitol insurrection. Last month, a judge ordered Rhodes to remain jailed pending trial, saying he poses a threat to the public and could evade authorities if he were to flee.
But in Friday's motion seeking his release, Rhodes' attorneys argued that he does not pose a flight risk, in part because he is already on a list that requires federal authorities to be notified before he flies.
"(Rhodes' attorneys) concede that Rhodes summoned Oath Keepers to DC on Jan. 6, but say it was to provide 'defensive assistance to attendees' who might be attacked by 'members of Antifa and Black Lives Matter,'" BuzzFeed News' Ken Bensinger reports. "On Jan. 6, they note, the (Oath Keepers) provided security for Roger Stone & Latinos For Trump."
"The much-discussed Quick Reaction Force (QRF) in Virginia, meanwhile, was 'hardly the commando force the Government is attempting to portray it as' & instead a 'defensive force, called if and only if required to defend members or those with whom they have been charged with protecting,'" according to Rhodes' attorneys.
"There's a lot of stuff (in the motion) on whether the Oath Keepers are anti-government, white supremacists, or sexist (the lawyers say none of the above)," Bensinger reported. "There's also the argument that 'believing that the current political environment will lead to a civil war is protected speech under' (the First Amendment)."
"Processing as I read, but a very large part of the argument is that Rhodes believed Trump was going to invoke the Insurrection Act, at which point it was no-holds barred and he'd unleash the QRF and all its guns," Bensinger added.