Inside the next round of seditious conspiracy charges against the Oath Keepers
Collin County Sheriff's Office.

The Justice Department scored a historic victory with the conviction of two leading Oath Keepers, Stewart Rhodes and Kelly Meggs, on the rare charge of seditious conspiracy for their plots to attack the U.S. Capitol on January 6, along with a slate of lesser offenses for them and other close associates.

But according to CNN, the DOJ's upcoming effort to convict another, lower-ranking slate of people from the far-right militia could be more difficult: "This time ... prosecutors face a new challenge – convincing a jury that lower-level members of the Oath Keepers and associates were in on the alleged sedition plot and not just swept up in the mob on January 6, 2021," reported Hannah Rabinowitz and Holmes Lybrand.

"The trial starts Tuesday with jury selection in Washington, DC, and is expected to last five to seven weeks," said the report. "In addition to seditious conspiracy, the defendants face charges of conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of an official proceeding, and conspiracy to prevent an officer from discharging duties. They have pleaded not guilty."

As the report noted, even the seditious conspiracy charges against Rhodes and his direct associates were hard-won and not a total victory; three of the five members were acquitted of that charge.

"Prosecutors struggled to overcome testimony from several civilian defendants, including other members of the Oath Keepers, who repeatedly stated there was no explicit plan to storm the Capitol on January 6, 2021," said the report. "All five defendants in the first trial, however, were found guilty of obstructing an official proceeding, which carries the same 20-year maximum sentence as the seditious conspiracy charge. 'It sends a message that efforts to undermine our democracy will not be tolerated,' said Alex Friedfeld, an investigative researcher with the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism."

"The new round of defendants – Roberto Minuta, Joseph Hackett, David Moerschel and Edward Vallejo – are more disconnected from the top brass of the far-right militia. All four have pleaded not guilty," said the report. "Like the defendants in the first trial, Minuta, Hackett, Moerschel and Vallejo allegedly sent several violent messages in the lead-up to January 6 and discussed fighting what they viewed as a corrupt government. The men also allegedly contributed weapons to the quick reaction force, and three are accused of entering the Capitol building. But Minuta, Hackett, Moerschel and Vallejo are not accused of leading the charge at the Capitol on January 6. Prosecutors have alleged that the four were waiting for orders from Oath Keepers who were higher up in the command structure of the militia."

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