Prosecutors Scored Some Wins in Oath Keepers Trial

In media's view, witnesses gave them some compelling evidence
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 21, 2022 12:42 PM CDT
Prosecutors Had a Good Week in Oath Keepers Case
Members of the Oath Keepers on the East Front of the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Three weeks into an Oath Keepers trial, the prosecution has put forth "its strongest evidence to date" that founder Stewart Rhodes and other members committed seditious conspiracy on Jan. 6, in the New York Times' view. The story by Alan Feuer and Zach Montague says former Oath Keeper Jason Dolan's Tuesday testimony was key, as previous government witnesses denied the group had planned in advance to try to prevent the certification of Joe Biden's win. Dolan, however, said the group intended to block the certification "by any means necessary" and imagined a battle between supporters of Biden and then-President Trump. "That's why we brought our firearms," he said.

Prosecutors say Rhodes—who is on trial with associates Kelly Meggs, Jessica Watkins, Kenneth Harrelson, and Thomas Caldwell—made numerous stops on his way from Texas to Washington, DC, buying $20,000 in weapons and ammunition, per the Times. Defense lawyers have argued the weapons, stashed at a hotel in Arlington, Va., would support an armed "quick reaction force" to be used as a militia to support Trump only if he invoked the Insurrection Act. But Politico concurs with the Times that "prosecutors have used testimony in the third week of the Oath Keepers trial to poke holes in that defense," as in presenting this text sent by Rhodes on Dec. 20, 2020:

  • "Either Trump gets off his ass and uses the insurrection Act to defeat the ChiCom puppet coup or we will have to rise up in insurrection (rebellion) against the ChiCom puppet Biden. Take your pick."

CBS News also saw FBI agent Sylvia Hilgeman's Monday testimony as "advanc[ing] the government's theory of the case." None of the weapons were ever brought into DC, which Rhodes' attorney emphasized in asking Hilgeman to confirm "the armed rebellion was unarmed." Hilgeman responded "the armed rebellion wasn't over," indicating her belief that the Oath Keepers intended to occupy the city after Jan. 6 if necessary. Hilgeman said Caldwell spoke of sending a boatload of weapons from Virginia to the Capitol across the Potomac River were they needed. Just before Meggs, Watkins, and Harrelson entered the Capitol in a military-style "stack," an individual wrote to Rhodes saying, "Standing by at hotel. Just say the word," per the Times. (More Oath Keepers stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.