Oath Keepers claim 'opposite' of sedition because Trump could order militia attack on Capitol: analysis
Oath Keepers "stack" and Kelly Megs, Connie Meggs, Laura Steele, Donovan Crowl, Jessica Watkins, and Graydon Young / DOJ

With opening arguments in the Oath Keepers' seditious conspiracy trial scheduled to begin on Monday, the New Yorker took an in-depth look at the legal argument being put forth by founder Stewart Rhodes and co-defendants.

"In the trial, Rhodes’s lawyers will attempt to sway the jury using an argument rooted in Rhodes’s version of right-wing militancy," Mike Giglio reported. "The Oath Keepers, they will argue, were not at the Capitol to fight with law enforcement on January 6, 2021. They were acting more as an extension of law enforcement, awaiting orders from Donald Trump, whom Rhodes had urged to invoke the Insurrection Act, to prevent Joe Biden from taking power. He implored Trump to call up members of the Oath Keepers and other armed Americans to serve as part of a Presidentially sanctioned militia."

The story noted a pre-trial motion where Rhodes' lawyers wrote, "the Government would like this Court to believe that is sedition, when in fact, it is the opposite. It is loyalty to an oath taken in defense of the Country.”

The co-defendants could face twenty years in prison if convicted.

"After Rhodes’s arrest, Phillip Linder, a well-regarded Dallas attorney, and his partner, James Lee Bright, became his defense lawyers. Sidney Powell, the lawyer who’d spread Trump’s false claims about the 2020 election, reportedly hired Linder and Bright via her new foundation, as well as paid defense bills for another Oath Keeper charged alongside Rhodes; a senior member of the Proud Boys; and other defendants in January 6th cases," the New Yorker reported. "Last month, Rhodes attempted to replace the two attorneys and delay his trial; Judge Amit Mehta, of the D.C. district court, denied the motion, but the new lawyer Rhodes had selected, Edward Tarpley, was added to the defense team. Linder and Bright continue to direct Rhodes’s defense."

Bright said they were aware that Rhodes' defense could potentially be used to justify violence in the future and that Jan. 6 could have been worse, noting “how dangerous Trump was in that moment to America.”

He also noted how Trump incited his followers with giving a clear command for violence.

“Isn’t that where Trump is kind of a genius? He knew what to tell people. He figured it out,” Bright said. “He used the hell out of these people. He knew their fears. He knew their dreams.”

Read the full report.