Four members of the far-right “Oath Keepers” militia were convicted Monday of sedition for their role in the storming of the Capitol, after the second trial organized on this extremely rare charge.
Since the attack on January 6, 2021, more than 950 supporters of former Republican President Donald Trump have been arrested and charged with sowing chaos in the seat of American democracy.
Among them, only 14 activists from far-right groups – nine members of the “Oath Keepers” and five “Proud Boys” – have been charged with “sedition”, a leader who faces 20 years in prison, which involves planning the use of force to oppose the government.
Those convicted are Roberto Minuta, Joseph Hackett, David Moerschel and Edward Vallejo.
A trial in two stages due to lack of space
Due to a lack of sufficient space in the federal court in Washington, the court organized the trial of the Oath Keepers, accused of having trained and armed for the occasion, in two stages.
A first trial ended at the end of November with a mixed verdict: the founder of this militia, Stewart Rhodes, and a local official were declared guilty of rebellion, but their three co-accused were acquitted on this charge.
On Monday, at the end of the second trial, jurors found guilty of the last four Oath Keepers, men aged 38 to 64 described as dangerous “traitors” by the prosecution but as “braggarts” by their lawyers.
The trial against the Proud Boys, including their leader Enrique Tarrio, opened in December and was still ongoing Monday in the same court.
The man who moved into Nancy Pelosi’s office
Separately, a 62-year-old man who was immortalized with his feet on a table in Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi’s office during the attack was found guilty of other crimes.
Jurors found Richard Barnett guilty of obstructing an official process, theft and trespassing into an official building with a dangerous weapon (a walking stick capable of sending electric shocks), among other charges.
On January 6, 2021, he was photographed by AFP in the office of the leader of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, with his feet on a piece of furniture. The cliché had gone around the world and enabled the police to quickly arrest him.
According to the indictment, this supporter of the Qanon conspiracy movement had left an abusive message for the Democrat and stolen an envelope she had signed.
During his trial, he was defiant, claiming to have been “pushed into” the Capitol by the crowd.
His sentence will be handed down in May. Meanwhile, he remains under house arrest with an electronic bracelet.