Second Oath Keeper Trial Begins

On Monday, opening statements in the US Department of Justice's (DOJ) case against four Oath Keepers began.

Second Oath Keeper Trial Begins
Image credit: AP [via Politco]

Facts

  • On Monday, opening statements in the US Department of Justice's (DOJ) case against four Oath Keepers began.
  • This comes two weeks after Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes and Florida chapter leader Kelly Meggs were convicted of seditious conspiracy.
  • The four defendants in the current case — Roberto Minuta, Joseph Hackett, David Moerschel, and Edward Vallejo — all pleaded not guilty to charges of seditious conspiracy, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of an official proceeding, and conspiracy to prevent an officer from discharging duties. The men were reportedly awaiting orders during the Jan 6. Capitol riots.
  • In the first Oath Keepers trial, three lower-level defendants were acquitted on sedition charges but were convicted of obstructing Congress’ certification of the 2020 presidential election — an offense that carries up to 20 years in prison.
  • Prosecutors charge that statements made by the defendants signaled a coordinated plan, while the defense claims that the government cherry-picked inflammatory comments out of context.
  • Three other Oath Keepers previously pleaded guilty to seditious conspiracy and agreed to cooperate with authorities but didn't testify at the Rhodes trial. Another related trial is set for next month against former Proud Boys chairman Enrique Tarrio.

Sources: Associated Press, CNN, Tribune Democrat, Press Herald, and ABC.

Narratives

  • Right narrative, as provided by American Greatness. The DOJ is taking a dangerous and unprecedented step of criminalizing dissent. After nearly two years of trying to spin the Jan. 6 Capitol riots into a large-scale terrorist attack, the government is trying to say that a “militia” planned a coup at the Capitol without a single firearm or explosive. This is pure political persecution and a threat to democracy.
  • Left narrative, as provided by Salon. American democracy is under attack, and if perpetrators of domestic terrorism aren’t stopped now, dangerous militias will continue to commit atrocities like those of Jan. 6, 2021. The sedition trials of the Oath Keepers are about holding extremists accountable for their words and actions and preventing violent attacks.