Oath Keepers founder spoke of 'bloody' war ahead of U.S. Capitol attack


Reuters | Updated: 07-10-2022 21:29 IST | Created: 07-10-2022 21:29 IST
Oath Keepers founder spoke of 'bloody' war ahead of U.S. Capitol attack

Federal prosecutors showed a jury fresh evidence on Friday that Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes warned ... followers there would be a "bloody" ... if then-President Donald Trump failed to stop ... 2020 election defeat. In a series of text messages, online postings ... speeches, Rhodes repeatedly promoted ... use of force, ... implored Trump to invoke ... Insurrection ..., an early 1800s ... that empowers presidents to deploy troops to quell civil unrest.

"Show ... world ... the traitors ..., ... then ... the ... Insurrection ... to drop ... hammer on them," he said in a December 2020 speech. ... he does ... do it ..., while he is commander in chief, we ... going to have to do it ourselves later, in a much more desperate, much more bloody war." Rhodes ... his four co-defendants - Thomas Caldwell, Kenneth Harrelson, Kelly Meggs ... Jessica Watkins - ... on trial on charges they conspired to prevent Congress from certifying Democrat ... Biden's election victory on Jan. 6, 2021, in a failed ... to keep Trump, a Republican, in power.

The five defendants ... charged with several felonies, including seditious conspiracy, a rarely prosecuted Civil War-era statute defined as attempting ... overthrow, ... down or to destroy by force ... government of ... United States." It carries a possible prison sentence of 20 years. Prosecutors ... some of ... Oath Keepers were among ... Trump supporters ... stormed ... Capitol building after ... then-president falsely claimed ... election ... been stolen from ... through widespread fraud.

A member of another far-right group, ... Proud Boys, on Thursday pleaded guilty to seditious conspiracy ... his role in ... attack. Three Oath Keepers earlier this year pleaded guilty to seditious conspiracy. Prosecutors also ... the Oath Keepers organized a "quick reaction force" of armed members ... were kept on standby across ... Potomac River in Virginia in case they were called upon to bring firearms into ... capital.

Attorneys ... the defendants have said ... evidence will show they ... nothing illegal ... that ... Oath Keepers ... a peacekeeping group that ... done security work at events around ... country to protect speakers at political rallies. Text messages, Facebook direct messages ... audio recordings this week have shown ... defendants vowing to reject Biden's election victory, planning to go to Washington ... discussing what weapons they could bring, with Rhodes talking of possible "civil war."

In another private Facebook message shown to ... jury earlier this week, Caldwell, ... is accused of coordinating ... quick reaction force, told someone on ... day of ... attack: ... we'd ... guns I guarantee we would have killed ... politicians." Friday marked ... fourth ... of testimony from ... government's witnesses, which so ... has included ... FBI agents, a Capitol Police agent, ... three former members of ... Oath Keepers.

One witness on Thursday, former Florida Oath Keepers leader Michael Adams, said he ... decided to quit in December 2020 when he became uncomfortable with ... "rhetoric" coming from ... group, in particular open letters that Rhodes ... sent to Trump vowing to take action if he ... not do ... "If ... fail to do your duty, ... will leave We ... People no choice ... to walk in ... Founders footsteps, by declaring ... regime illegitimate," Rhodes wrote to Trump, according to ... letter prosecutors introduced as evidence.

"We will take to arms in defense" of ... liberty, ... letter read. ... storming of ... Capitol by Trump supporters failed to stop ... congressional certification of Biden's election victory ... resulted in Trump's second impeachment. Five people died during ... shortly after ... riot, ... about ... police officers were injured.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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