Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Do Call It Sedition, What trump's Rioters Did (w/ Update)

In the ongoing legal drama that has been the aftermath of the January 6th Insurrection to interfere with Congress' duties to confirm the 2020 Electoral College results: A major courtroom matter involving the most serious charges yet - direct allegations of seditious conspiracy - got resolved today, with guilty verdicts for one of the major trumpian supporters. More via Ryan Lucas and Carrie Johnson at NPR: 

Stewart Rhodes, the founder of the far-right Oath Keepers, has been found guilty of seditious conspiracy and other offenses in connection with the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

A federal jury in Washington, D.C., also convicted Rhodes of obstructing an official proceeding and tampering with documents. He was acquitted of two other conspiracy counts.

Rhodes did not enter the Capitol during the riot, but instead stood outside like a "battlefield general" surveying his troops, prosecutor Jeffrey Nestler said.

All five defendants on trial in this case were charged with seditious conspiracy but only one in addition to Rhodes, Kelly Meggs, was found guilty. The three other defendants — Jessica Watkins, Kenneth Harrelson and Thomas Caldwell — were acquitted on that central charge...

The jury did seem to consider the weight of applying sedition to all five standing trial: They determined those three were not as involved as Rhodes or Meggs. Still, they were found guilty on other charges related to the insurrection:

But all of the defendants were found guilty of obstructing an official proceeding as well as a mix of other charges.

Jurors returned their verdict after nearly three full days of deliberations...

The prosecution of the Oath Keepers leader and his co-defendants is the most consequential Jan. 6 case yet to have gone to trial.

Prosecutors accused the five of plotting to prevent, by any means necessary including force, the peaceful transfer of presidential power to Joe Biden.

Rhodes and the other Oath Keepers were the first Jan. 6 defendants to go to trial on seditious conspiracy charges. Two more seditious conspiracy trials — one involving more Oath Keepers and the other a group of Proud Boys — are set to start in the coming weeks...

The earliest trials of those arrested for their attack on the nation's Capitol to disrupt the Electoral College vote had focused on lesser charges, focusing mostly on assault and trespass and such. Those cases - either leading to guilty convictions or guilty plea deals - all built up to the evidence needed to convict Rhodes and Meggs on charges of seditious conspiracy, which is a very serious matter because - at least as I understand it - this opens up the door to pursue conspiracy charges with the insurrection's coordinators - hi Roger Stone and Steve Bannon! - who were tied to Rhodes' Oath Keepers and other groups involved in the violence.

The thing about a conspiracy: If you can prove one end of the partnership guilty of it, you ought to be able to convict the other partners of that conspiracy as well.

Every link between Stone, Bannon, and anybody else - especially any Congresscritters who aided in planning and staging the riots - to the Oath Keepers should now be under full legal scrutiny, and for there to be ANY justice at all in this matter those partners in sedition deserve getting charged for their crimes as well.

This was a good day for America (also because the U.S. Men's Soccer team beat Iran 1-0 and advanced in the World Cup. That's right. Americans are finally good at soccer!) but this day needs a follow through.

This sedition didn't start with Rhodes or his Oath Keepers or Roger Stone or Steve Bannon. It started with donald trump refusing to admit he lost, and demanding violence to keep himself him power. All conspiracy links point to him. trump needs to see his day in court for this sedition as well.

Still waiting on trump to get arrested. Let justice be done.

Update 11/30/22: David A Graham at the Atlantic does a good job spelling out the importance of nailing Rhodes with sedition:

Sedition (or seditious conspiracy, as federal law defines the crime) is likely unfamiliar to many people, and for good reason: It’s extremely rare. The charge involves “conspir[ing] to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States … or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States...”

Tellingly, the federal law against seditious conspiracy dates to the Civil War; on January 6 of last year, rioters carried the Confederate battle flag in the halls of the Capitol, a desecration that never happened during the war. But actual cases are few and far between, in part because instances of seditious behavior that actually amount to anything—much less a ransacking of the Capitol—are rare. The last time the government successfully prosecuted someone under the charge was in a mid-1990s case against the radical Muslim cleric Omar Abdel-Rahman and some followers for a plot to bomb New York City landmarks. In 2010, the Justice Department charged members of a bizarre far-right militia called the Hutaree with seditious conspiracy, but they were acquitted two years later.

These rare successes made some observers wonder whether DOJ had erred in bringing the charge against the Oath Keepers, either because it might be too hard to prove or because it might open the door up to dubious future prosecutions. But the convictions offer some vindication for the decision. Not only did the prosecutors succeed in convicting Rhodes and company, but by convicting him of this particular charge, they put the lie to the idea that what happened on January 6 was simply a few overzealous people who got a little excited but posed no threat to the peaceful transfer of power. It also shows why the riot at the Capitol was not equivalent to violence that broke out in cities in summer 2020 after the murder of George Floyd, which was lawless but not part of any conspiracy against the federal government...

What happened on January 6 2021 was a concerted, planned attack to disrupt a constitutional confirmation of a legal Presidential election. It wasn't a protest, it wasn't a groundswell of outrage by the majority of Americans. It was a very small, very violent minority of trumpian worshippers riled up by lies, fearmongering, and rage to seize power they feared was no longer theirs.

The Justice Department has successfully proven there was a conspiracy behind it all. Now they need to go after the ones who planned it and especially go after the one who demanded the attack. Still waiting on trump to get arrested.

1 comment:

dinthebeast said...

Elmer and his Oaf Creepers' first mistake was imagining that Fergus would do anything to help them. Their second mistake was using that as a legal defense at trial. Fantasies rarely if ever work to avoid jail time.
This does send a signal to the other accused seditionists, and one can only imagine that the Proud Boys are furiously avoiding all masturbation ahead of their legal reckoning.

-Doug in Sugar Pine