WASHINGTON D.C. — Jury selection began Tuesday for five members of the Oath Keepers, including the organization's founder Stewart Rhodes. They are facing charges of seditious conspiracy in connection to the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.
Rhodes, 57, founded the Oath Keepers in 2009 and had been a practicing lawyer in Montana before his disbarment in 2015. In the years following his disbarment, Rhodes relocated to texas.
Prosecutors allege Rhodes and his co-defendants plotted to use force to block President Biden from taking office. Much of the government’s evidence is text and other digital messages between Rhodes and other members. One text allegedly stated, “it will be a bloody and desperate fight. We are going to have a fight. That can't be avoided."
The Oath Keepers had allegedly transported weapons, ammunition and other items to the Washington, D.C. area. The weapons were alleged to be used by quick reaction forces, or QRFs, and were stashed in a hotel in Virginia.
Rhodes has argued in court filings that the discussions and planning were all in preparation for former President Trump to invoke the Insurrection Act. He has further claimed the QRFs were to be activated should Trump supporters come under attack.
The trial is expected to take around five weeks.