Four more members of the far-right extremist group Oath Keepers have been convicted of sedition charges for plotting to violently overturn President Joe Biden‘s 2020 presidential election victory over former President Donald Trump.
A jury in Washington, D.C., on Monday found Oath Keepers members Joseph Hackett, David Moerschel, Roberto Minuta and Edward Vallejo guilty of seditious conspiracy, a rarely used charge that carries a prison sentence of up to 20 years. The convictions come almost two months after Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes and member Kelly Meggs were found guilty of the same crime.
United States Code defines “seditious conspiracy” as two or more people attempting to “overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States or to levy war against them.”
In addition, the charge applies to those who use force to “prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States,” or to “seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof.”
The four men convicted on Monday were also found guilty of obstructing an official proceeding and two other conspiracy charges.
Prosecutors said that Vallejo, an Army veteran, was stationed during the riot at a Washington, D.C.-area hotel with weapons and ammunition ready to be shuttled to the Capitol as part of a “quick reaction force,” according to the Associated Press.
Meanwhile, Hackett, Moerschel and Minuta forced their way into the Capitol alongside other Trump supporters as part of an ill-fated attempt to stop Congress from certifying Biden’s Electoral College win and somehow overturn the election outcome.
Prior to the convictions of Rhodes and Meggs in November, there had been no seditious conspiracy convictions since 1995, when Omar Abdel-Rahman was found guilty for his role in planning the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center.
Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a press release that he was “grateful to the prosecutors, agents, and staff for their excellent work” in securing the convictions on Monday.
“Today’s verdict is an important step in our continued efforts to hold criminally accountable those involved in the breach of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray.
“We will continue to investigate those who sought to undermine the workings of American democracy and we will work closely with federal prosecutors to ensure justice is served,” Wray added.
In an ongoing separate trial, the Department of Justice (DOJ) is pursuing seditious conspiracy charges against Enrique Tarrio, leader of the far-right group Proud Boys, and four of his associates.
During an MSNBC broadcast in November, former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner called the seditious conspiracy conviction of Rhodes a “direct rejection” of Trump’s false claims that the 2020 election was “stolen” by massive voter fraud.
This month, Kirschner said during a broadcast that the former president’s “[alleged] crimes flow through” the charges against the Oath Keepers members, maintaining that their recently unsealed indictment “echoes the words, the conduct, the [alleged] crimes of Donald Trump.”
Newsweek has reached out to the DOJ for comment.
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