To prosecutors, the case is evident: Rhodes was the “architect” of a plan to overthrow the federal government by pressure until Trump took direct motion to grab a second time period he didn’t win. As Jan. 6 approached, Rhodes grew more and more pissed off at Trump’s inaction and assembled a crew — together with co-defendants Kelly Meggs and Kenneth Harrelson of Florida, Jessica Watkins of Ohio and Thomas Caldwell of Virginia. They coordinated to amass an arsenal of heavy weapons at a Consolation Inn in close by Arlington, Va., and developed land and water routes to ferry them to Oath Keepers if violence erupted.
Two dozen Oath Keepers entered the Capitol after different rioters breached it and migrated towards the Home and Senate chambers earlier than they had been repelled by police. Later, they met Rhodes exterior the Capitol. Prosecutors say the group celebrated their actions and ready to proceed their efforts to oppose the federal government even after authorities regained management of the Capitol.
After closing arguments Friday, jurors will start deliberating on probably the most important cost — seditious conspiracy — in addition to a slew of different costs lodged towards the Oath Keeper leaders, together with obstruction of an official continuing and destruction of property on the Capitol.
Oath Keepers have contended that their dialog main as much as Jan. 6 was merely numerous overheated speak and their actions amid the rebellion had been comparatively innocent. They got here to Washington, they argued, to assist carry out safety particulars for VIPs attending Trump’s Jan. 6 “Cease the Steal” rally. Their weapons cache, which they described as a “fast response pressure,” was meant to protect towards an outbreak of avenue violence, to not goal the Capitol, they contended.
In his closing argument, Rhodes’ lawyer Lee Brilliant stated that the Oath Keepers had been fearful in 2020, because the nation was largely in lockdown amid the Covid pandemic. Then, riots erupted amid the protests that accompanied the homicide of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer — together with in Portland, Seattle and Washington, D.C.
“They noticed their nation burning,” Brilliant stated.
What resulted, he stated, was “horribly heated rhetoric” and “bombast” — not a real intention to topple the federal government. He emphasised that nobody had any concept that Jan. 6 was going to be a significant occasion till simply two weeks earlier than when Trump known as for a rally and protest.
Brilliant additionally mocked prosecutors’ rivalry that the Oath Keepers’ arsenal of firearms was an effort to convey “weapons of struggle” into Washington, D.C. He described it as a routine operate of the Oath Keepers’ protocols once they carried out safety particulars at main occasions.
Through the trial, Rhodes himself testified that he had no violent intentions towards the federal government on Jan. 6, and Caldwell and Watkins equally took the stand to explain their actions as lawful and innocent. Rhodes’ on-the-ground operations chief Michael Greene testified that he seen the Oath Keepers as a bunch of “outdated males” jabbering in a barbershop, by no means really meaning to make good on their violent phrases.
Prosecutors used their closing arguments to take intention on the testimony of Inexperienced and of Rhodes, Caldwell and Watkins themselves.
“The defendants’ phrases on this case weren’t the mere rantings and ravings of outdated males in a barbershop,” Rakoczy stated.
Rhodes, they stated, basically owned as much as his violent objectives when he acknowledged a Dec. 10, 2020, textual content message he despatched to allies: “Both Trump will get off his ass and makes use of the Rebellion Act to defeat the ChiCom puppet coup, or we must stand up in rebellion, revolt towards the ChiCom puppet BIden.”
“Mr. Rhodes agreed that that’s what he was advocating,” Rakoczy stated.
And Rakoczy stated Caldwell’s testimony was merely “unimaginable,” refusing to take any accountability for his involvement within the Jan. 6 incursion on the Capitol and describing the day as a “good time.”
“Why lie until the reality is simply too damning,” Rakoczy stated.