WASHINGTON—Stewart Rhodes, founder of the Oath Keepers militia group, was found guilty by a jury on Nov. 29 of seditious conspiracy connected to the events on Jan 6, 2021.
One co-defendant, Kelly Meggs, was also found guilty of seditious conspiracy on Tuesday, while three others—Kenneth Harrelson, Jessica Watkins, and Thomas Caldwell—were acquitted of that charge.
In total, Rhodes was found guilty on three out of five counts: seditious conspiracy, obstruction of an official proceeding, and tampering with documents or proceedings.
Meggs was found guilty on five counts out of six: seditious conspiracy, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of an official proceeding, conspiracy to prevent an officer from discharging any duties, and tampering with documents.
The other three defendants were each found guilty on multiple lesser charges.
In closing arguments, defense attorneys said the government failed to prove that the Oath Keepers planned to attack the Capitol or to interfere with the certification of Electoral College votes on Jan. 6, 2021.
A defense lawyer said that none of the 50 witnesses in the Oath Keepers trial testified that they heard any of the defendants discuss or plan to storm the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
However, in the final rebuttal, U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Nestler said that according to the jury instructions (pdf), the government did not have to prove that the defendants had a detailed plan to breach the Capitol and meet in person to discuss their alleged scheme. An implicit agreement and mutual understanding were enough to prove the defendants’ conspiracy, he said.
Nestler told the jury that the three defendants who decided to take the witness stand to testify in their defense (Stewart Rhodes, Thomas Caldwell, and Jessica Watkins) allegedly lied.