Jurors convicted four members of the Oath Keepers on Jan. 23 of seditious conspiracy in the Jan. 6, 2021, breach of the U.S. Capitol.
Joseph Hackett of Sarasota, Florida; Roberto Minuta of Prosper, Texas; David Moerschel of Punta Gorda, Florida; and Edward Vallejo of Phoenix were convicted of seditious conspiracy and other crimes related to the breach.
Seditious conspiracy is defined in federal law as two or more persons conspiring to “overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof.”
The charge carries up to 20 years in prison.
The Oath Keepers is a group comprised primarily of former and current law enforcement and military members.
The convictions come about two months after Stewart Rhodes, the founder of the group, was convicted with co-defendant Kelly Meggs of seditious conspiracy linked to Jan. 6. Three people tried with them were acquitted of the charge. Four other defendants, including three Oath Keepers, have pleaded guilty to seditious conspiracy.
“For the second time in recent months, a jury has found that a group of Americans entered into a seditious conspiracy against the United States,” Matthew Graves, U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, said in a statement. “The goal of this conspiracy was to prevent the execution of our laws that govern the peaceful transfer of power – striking at the very heart of our democracy. We are grateful to the thoughtful, deliberative work of this jury who gave weeks of their lives to carefully consider and deliver justice in this case and in so doing reaffirmed our democratic principles.”
Hackett, Minuta, Moerschel, and Vallejo, were also convicted of two other conspiracy charges as well as obstructing an official proceeding: Congress’ certification of the 2020 election. Minuta, Hackett, and Moerschel were acquitted of lesser charges.