Oath Keepers leader jailed on Capitol attack charges

Jan 13, 2022, 11:43 PM | Updated: Jan 15, 2022, 6:13 am
The federal courthouse in Plano, Texas, Friday, Jan. 14, 2022, where Stewart Rhodes, the founder an...

The federal courthouse in Plano, Texas, Friday, Jan. 14, 2022, where Stewart Rhodes, the founder and leader of the far-right Oath Keepers militia group, is set to make a first appearance in court on a seditious conspiracy charge. (AP Photo/Jake Bleiberg)

(AP Photo/Jake Bleiberg)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The founder and leader of the far-right Oath Keepers militia group remained in jail after his first court appearance on Friday, a day after his arrest on charges he plotted with others to attack the U.S. Capitol to stop Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory.

The seditious conspiracy charges against Stewart Rhodes and 10 other Oath Keepers members or associates are the first to be levied in connection with the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021. They’re also the first to be brought by the Justice Department in over a decade.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Kimberly Priest Johnson ordered Rhodes, 56, of Granbury, Texas, to be held in custody until a detention hearing next Thursday in the Dallas suburb of Plano.

Rhodes appeared in court wearing heavy boots, blue jeans, a faded black Carhartt T-shirt and a blue medical mask. He walked into the courtroom shackled at the wrists and ankles.

After the hearing, Rhodes’ lawyers said he entered a not guilty plea, plans to fight the charges against him and should be released. Defense attorneys Phillip Linder and James Lee Bright said Rhodes has no criminal history, no passport and is not a flight risk.

Bright and Linder said Rhodes has been living in Texas for a year and a half but they could not say what brought him to the state. They said he had no family present at the Friday hearing.

An Arizona man who was charged in the same indictment as Rhodes and other Oath Keepers members also made his first court appearance on Friday. U.S. Magistrate Judge Deborah Fine ordered Edward Vallejo, 63, of Phoenix, to remain jailed until a detention hearing next Thursday.

Rhodes and Vallejo were arrested Thursday. The nine others charged in the seditious conspiracy indictment already had been indicted on charges related to the Capitol siege.

Earlier Friday, the top leader of another far-right extremist group with members charged in the Capitol riot was released from jail in Washington, D.C. Proud Boys chairman Henry “Enrique” Tarrio served a five-month jail sentence in a case that wasn’t directly related to the Capitol riot.

Video posted on social media showed Tarrio emerging from the jail building and hugging loved ones, carrying his belongings in several white plastic trash bags.

“I feel great,” he told reporters as he loaded his bags into a car.

Tarrio was arrested in Washington two days before the Capitol riot and charged with burning a Black Lives Matter banner that had been ripped from a local Black church during an earlier rally by then-President Donald Trump’s supporters. Tarrio pleaded guilty to destruction of property and attempted possession of a large-capacity ammunition feeding device.

Tarrio noted that the city’s jail facility still holds several defendants charged in the Capitol riot.

“I’m more worried about them than I was about myself,” Tarrio said.

The indictment charging Rhodes and other Oath Keepers with seditious conspiracy says they discussed trying to overturn the election results and preparing for a siege by purchasing weapons and setting up battle plans. On Jan. 6, several members wearing camouflaged combat attire shouldered their way through the crowd and into the Capitol in a military-style stack formation, authorities say.

Rhodes did not enter the Capitol building on Jan. 6 but is accused of helping put the violence into motion.

Authorities have said Rhodes was part of an encrypted Signal chat with Oath Keepers from multiple states and it showed the group was “activating a plan to use force” on Jan. 6. On the afternoon of the 6th, authorities say Rhodes told the group over Signal: “All I see Trump doing is complaining. I see no intent by him to do anything. So the patriots are taking it into their own hands. They’ve had enough.”

Vallejo is accused of coordinating what federal authorities say were “quick reaction force” teams that the Oath Keepers stationed outside of Washington on standby with weapons that could be shuttled to group members and associates.

Authorities say Vallejo, Rhodes and others met at a restaurant in Vienna, Virginia, on the evening on Jan. 6 to celebrate the attack on the Capitol.

The last seditious conspiracy case was filed in 2010 against members of a Michigan militia. But a judge ordered acquittals on the sedition conspiracy charges, saying prosecutors didn’t prove the Hutaree militia members ever had detailed plans for a rebellion. Three members of the militia pleaded guilty to weapons charges.

Rhodes, a former U.S. Army paratrooper and Yale Law School graduate, founded the Oath Keepers in 2009. The right-wing extremist group recruits current and former military, police and first responders.

___

Bleiberg reported from Plano, Texas. Billeaud reported from Phoenix. Associated Press reporter Michael Kunzelman in College Park, Maryland, contributed to this story.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - In this photo taken during Dec. 27 - Dec. 31, 2021 and provided on Jan. 1, 2022 by the North...
Associated Press

Seoul: N. Korea fires projectile in 4th launch this month

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea on Monday fired at least one suspected ballistic missile into the sea in its fourth weapons launch this month, officials in South Korea and Japan said, with the apparent goal of demonstrating its military might amid paused diplomacy with the United States and pandemic border closures. South Korea’s […]
17 hours ago
File---File picture taken Jan.24, 2022 shows a police security guard on the roof of a hotel ahead o...
Associated Press

Group: Tax rich to fund vaccines for poor hit by pandemic

LONDON (AP) — Anti-poverty organization Oxfam called Monday for governments to impose a one-time 99% tax on the world’s billionaires and use the money to fund expanded production of vaccines for the poor — part of an effort to combat global inequality widened by the coronavirus pandemic. The ranks of the super-rich have swelled during […]
17 hours ago
Associated Press

North Macedonia: Center-left government OK’d by parliament

SKOPJE, North Macedonia (AP) — North Macedonia’s parliament on Sunday approved a new coalition Cabinet led by the Social Democrats, with two ethnic Albanian parties as junior partners. The Cabinet won the confidence vote 62-46 in the 120-member legislature. It enjoys somewhat broader support than the previous government of Social Democrat leader Zoran Zaev. The […]
17 hours ago
FILE - Defending men's champion Serbia's Novak Djokovic practices on Rod Laver Arena ahead of the A...
Associated Press

Djokovic leaves Australia but debate goes on in vaccine saga

Australia made its decision, but opinion remains divided worldwide on Novak Djokovic and whether he should have been allowed to compete in the Australian Open despite not being vaccinated against COVID-19. At a tennis center in Phoenix on Sunday, employee Stan Taylor said the lobby was abuzz with just one question as players arrived: “What […]
2 days ago
Associated Press

4 young manatees flown from Florida to Ohio for treatment

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — SeaWorld Orlando transferred four manatee calves to an Ohio aquarium for rehabilitation, freeing space to treat more of the threatened sea mammals that have been dying in Florida at an alarming rate. SeaWorld said DHL Express transported the manatees from its rescue and rehabilitation center to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium […]
2 days ago
FILE - Greek painter Alekos Fassianos attends a ceremony for the presentation of the medal of the A...
Associated Press

Celebrated Greek painter Alekos Fassianos dies at 86

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Alekos Fassianos, one of the most important modern Greek painters, died Sunday at his home after a long illness, the state news agency ANA reported. He was 86. Alekos Fassianos was born in Athens on Dec. 16, 1935. He studied violin at the Athens Conservatory and painting at the Athens School […]
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]
...

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]
...

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
...
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.
...

Delayed-Onset PTSD: Signs and Symptoms

Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers SPONSORED — You’re probably familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder. Often abbreviated as PTSD, this condition is diagnosed when a person experiences a set of symptoms for at least a month after a traumatic event. However, for some people, these issues take longer to develop. This results in a diagnosis of delayed-onset PTSD […]
...

Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7. Free unbiased help is here!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]
Oath Keepers leader jailed on Capitol attack charges