On Tuesday, Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes, on trial for his role in the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, submitted a court filing trying to take a page out of former President Donald Trump's book, and demand the court appoint a special master to advise on his case.
The filing notes that there are "10 terabytes of data" in the discovery process, and that a special master could help facilitate reviewing all of this information.
"Discovery in this case is more massive than the discovery in many cases where courts have appointed special masters to help manage discovery," said the filing. "For example, the Whitmer-kidnapping-plot case in the U.S. District of Michigan in 2021, the Bundy prosecutions in the U.S. District of Nevada both used special masters to manage, compile, dispense and compartmentalize discovery that was less massive than the discovery in this case. Rhodes requests appointment of a special master in this case."
As Lawfare's Roger Parloff noted on Twitter, "this motion is signed only by Rhodes' attorney Edward Tarpley, whom Rhodes tried to substitute last week for the 2 representing him for mos. With trial starting 9/27, Judge said no way. The other 2 said they'd let Tarpley sit at counsel table, but that was about it."
The Oath Keepers are a far-right paramilitary group, consisting mainly of current and retired military and law enforcement, who pledge to refuse to follow orders that violate their interpretation of the Constitution. They first gained national prominence when they joined in the armed standoff against federal agents at the Bundy Ranch in 2014, and are accused of carrying out an organized "military stack" assault at the Capitol on January 6. Rhodes and 10 other Oath Keepers face charges of seditious conspiracy.
Trump's special master request, granted by a right-wing judge in Florida earlier this month, is widely considered by experts to be a stall tactic against the investigation into classified documents hoarded at his Mar-a-Lago resort. The Justice Department has threatened to appeal certain elements of that ruling, including the injunction that blocks them from reviewing certain documents, but has signaled they are open to one of Trump's candidates to be special master, former New York District Judge Raymond Dearie.