Oath Keepers founder secretly backed lawsuit to break government — because of ‘Lord of the Rings’: report
Screen shot from Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (YouTube)

Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes backed an extreme legal effort that would "break" the United States government, according to a new report from The Daily Beast.

"While Rhodes’ lawyers have claimed the leader of the far-right militia group did 'precisely nothing' after his insurrection dreams were dashed, new details obtained by The Daily Beast reveal that isn’t quite accurate. According to a source with inside knowledge of the case, just days after Jan. 6, Rhodes and multiple militia members joined a federal lawsuit seeking to overturn the 2020 election," The Beast reported.

Rhodes, who was arrested in Texas on Jan. 13, has been charged with seditious conspiracy among other federal charges.

"Unfortunately for Rhodes and his compatriots, the lawsuit he signed on to was, in a word, 'insane.' It went off the rails almost as soon as it hit the courts, with the lead attorney citing The Lord of the Rings as legal precedent," The Beast reported.

In 2021, The Beast profiled Kellye SoRelle and examined the lawsuit hyped as the "great, shining hope" of Trump supporters.

"The full scope of the Oath Keeper’s shadow legal effort, largely spearheaded by the group’s then-general counsel Kellye SoRelle, stretched back well before the riot, according to multiple people involved. In fact, it ran on a parallel track alongside the paramilitary-style buildup that has defined the militia’s role, and it roped in a number of key Jan. 6 figures along the way—including people tied to the Proud Boys and First Amendment Praetorians," The Beast reported. "But Rhodes, a Yale Law grad, appears to have been hands-on with the lawsuit from the beginning. And the nexus represented in the legal push suggests that members of violent groups—with some such as Rhodes facing conspiracy charges—coordinated to overturn the election in more ways than one."

The Beast reported "legal framework stemmed from a pre-riot plan devised by right-wing radio host Jerome Corsi—a former confidant of Roger Stone, who received an Oath Keeper protective detail on Jan. 5 and 6. Corsi’s proposal hinged on 'overwhelming' evidence and a warped understanding of the Help America Vote Act, leading him to declare all of Congress illegitimate and demand an election 'redo.'”

Stone was subpoenaed by the House Select Committee Investigating the Jan. 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol.

"The initial lawsuit that [Texas attorney Paul Davis] and SoRelle put together hewed closely to Corsi’s path. It sought to invalidate the 2020 election, declare Joe Biden’s victory 'unlawful,' and dissolve Congress. Davis took lead attorney, naming hundreds of defendants, including every member of Congress, all 50 governors and secretaries of state, Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg," The Beast reported.

J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy tale about hobbits and elves and hobbits in the magical land of Middle-earth was cited as precedent.

The Beast reported the effort "somehow got weirder. In its most absurd iteration—with Davis, not SoRelle, at the helm—the lawsuit asked a federal judge to put the government into a receivership styled after the mythical kingdom of Gondor from The Lord of The Rings. 'During the course of the epic trilogy, the rightful King of Gondor had abandoned the throne,' the lawsuit explained. 'Since only the rightful king could sit on the throne of Gondor, a steward was appointed to manage Gondor until the return of the King, known as ‘Aragorn,’ occurred at the end of the story.'"

Read the full report.