(Washington) Four members of the far-right “Oath Keepers” militia were convicted on Monday of sedition for their role in the storming of the Capitol, at the end of 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 causing havoc 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 liable to 20 years in prison which involves planning the use of force to oppose the government.
For lack of sufficient space in the federal court in Washington, justice organized the trial of the Oath Keepers, accused of having trained and armed for the occasion, in two stages.
A first trial concluded at the end of November with a mixed verdict: the founder of this militia, Stewart Rhodes, and a local official were declared guilty of sedition, but their three co-defendants were acquitted on this count.
On Monday, at the end of the second trial, jurors found guilty 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 of the Proud Boys, including their leader Enrique Tarrio, opened in December and was still ongoing on Monday in the same court.
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.
The jurors found Richard Barnett guilty, among other things, of obstructing an official process, theft and intrusion into an official building with a dangerous weapon (a walking stick capable of sending electric shocks).
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 allowed the police to arrest him quickly.
According to the indictment, this supporter of the Qanon conspiracy movement had left an insulting message to the Democrat and stolen an envelope she had signed.
During his trial, he was defiant, claiming to have been “pushed inside” the Capitol by the crowd.
His sentence will be handed down in May. In the meantime, he remains under house arrest with an electronic bracelet.