OATH Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes will be jailed for almost two decades in connection to his involvement in the January 6 United States Capitol attack.

His sentence is the longest one compared to the hundreds of people who were found guilty of their involvement in the riot.

Stewart Rhodes founded the Oath Keepers in 2009


Stewart Rhodes founded the Oath Keepers in 2009Credit: AP

Who is Stewart Rhodes?

Stewart Rhodes is an Army veteran and disbarred lawyer famously known for founding the Oath Keepers, a far-right anti-government militia.

In the early 1990s, Rhodes was a member of the United States Army, but by 1993, he had been discharged after suffering a severe injury to his left eye.

Not much is known about the incident, but according to The Atlantic, it happened after he dropped a loaded handgun.

After the Army, he attended law school at Yale University and later landed a clerkship on the Arizona Supreme Court before moving to Montana.

Rhodes was once considered a promising student, but things quickly changed after he founded the Oath Keepers.

In May 2011, the Oath Keepers traveled to Arizona to support protests against the town’s then-Chief of Police, which led to the arrest of protesters Michael Roth and Jennifer Jones, according to KTVH.

The next year, he was fined $600 for representing Roth and Jones in a state where he was not licensed to practice law.

Despite the fine, he continued serving as Roth and Jones’ lawyer and even filed federal lawsuits on their behalf, KTVH notes.

Then, in December 2015, the Montana Supreme Court disbarred him for violating the Montana Rules of Professional Conduct.

After the disbarment, he relocated to Granbury, Texas, to continue his work with the militia.

What is Stewart Rhodes’ sentence?

On Thursday, January 13, 2022, police arrested Rhodes and charged him with seditious conspiracy for orchestrating a wide-ranging plot to storm the Capitol on Jan. 6 and disrupt the certification of Joe Biden’s electoral victory, according to The New York Times.

At the time, his arrest was a significant step forward in the extensive investigation into the Capitol attack, and it was the first time prosecutors had filed sedition charges.

Later that year, in November 2022, a jury found him guilty of seditious conspiracy and other charges related to the attacks.

Rhodes was then sentenced to 18 years in prison on May 25, 2023, which is the longest sentence given to anyone who was found guilty in connection to the pro-Trump riot, according to The Washington Post.

“You sir, present an ongoing threat and a peril to this country, to the republic and the very fabric of our democracy,” Judge Amit P. Mehta told Rhodes during sentencing.

“The moment you are released you will be prepared to take up arms against your government.”

In a statement, Rhodes told the court that he was a “political prisoner, and like President Trump, my only crime is opposing those who are destroying our country,” and then compared himself to Soviet dissident Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Post notes.

Stewart Rhodes was sentenced to 18 years in prison in May 2023


Stewart Rhodes was sentenced to 18 years in prison in May 2023Credit: AFP

What are the Oath Keepers?

Rhodes founded the Oath Keepers in March 2009 after Barack Obama became president.

At the time, he told CNN: “Our role is not to be obedient to whoever happens to be the leader. Our role is to defend the Constitution and the republic.”

The Anti-Defamation League describes the Oath Keepers as a conspiracist group or extremist right-wing militia who support Donald Trump.

They label themselves as “the last line of defense against tyranny.”

“They love our nation and our way of life and they’re not afraid to stand up for our rights nor afraid to call out those who break their oaths,” writes member Constable John D. Shirley.

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“If you think you have a problem with the Oath Keepers, what you actually have a problem with is the U.S. Constitution.”

The group also believes that a violent civil war in the US is imminent.

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