The historic verdict — the most serious yet secured in relation to the events of Jan. 6 — was nonetheless mixed. Alleged co-conspirators Jessica Watkins, Thomas Watkins, and Kenneth Harrelson were found not guilty of sedition. Meggs and Watkins were, however, found guilty of the lesser charge of conspiring to disrupt the counting of the votes of the Electoral College. All five prosecuted members of the militia group were found guilty on charges of obstructing an official proceeding. Four of the five, including Rhodes, were found guilty of “tampering with documents or proceedings and aiding and abetting.”
Throughout the trial, which opened on Oct. 4, the government alleged that Rhodes and his subordinates committed “seditious conspiracy” by working to block, by force, the peaceful transfer of power from Donald Trump to Joe Biden. The defendants also faced lesser charges that they conspired to disrupt the official proceedings of the joint session of Congress to certify the votes of the Electoral College.
Sedition is rarely prosecuted, and convictions are even rarer.
The Oath Keepers are a conspiratorial militia group that recruits heavily from former-military and law enforcement personnel. The militia began as fiercely anti-government, coping a defensive posture against fever-swamp-nightmares that federal authorities could turn entire cities into internment camps.
But the militia came to embrace Donald Trump as a hero figure and hoped and believed Trump might marshall them into battle against antifa and other perceived leftist threats. In its conspiratorial worldview, the group saw Biden’s win as a “ChiCom puppet coup” — a victory for the “deep state,” Communist China, shadowy globalists, and alleged “pedophiles” in Congress.