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Legal risks in sedition conspiracy case against Oath Keepers

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The Civil War-era charge is hard to prove, and scholars say overzealousness in applying it, going back centuries, also discredited its use.

The seditious conspiracy case against members and associates of the far-right Oath Keepers militia group marks the boldest attempt so far by the government to prosecute those who attacked the U.S. Capitol, but invoking the rarely used charge carries considerable risks.

Still, legal experts who have reviewed the indictment unsealed this past week against Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes and 10 others said prosecutors stand a good chance of winning convictions on allegations that the defendants were working together to use force to stop the peaceful transfer of presidential power.

The Civil War-era charge is hard to prove, and scholars say overzealousness in applying it, going back centuries, also discredited its use.

The experts who examined the indictment against the 11 Oath Keepers members and associates said the government’s case is supported by detailed allegations that participants in the plot discussed their plans in encrypted chats, traveled to the nation’s capital from across the country, organized into teams, used military tactics, stashed weapons outside Washington in case they felt they were needed and communicated with each other during the riot on Jan. 6, 2021.

“This is as a good a case as you could bring,” said Carlton Larson, a law professor at the University of California at Davis who is an expert in treason law.

In the weeks leading up to the insurrection, the indictment alleged, Oath Keepers discussed trying to overturn the results of the 2020 White House election, preparing for a siege by purchasing weapons and setting up battle plans.

“We aren’t getting through this without a civil war. Too late for that. Prepare your mind, body, spirit,” the indictment quoted Rhodes as writing in a November 2020 chat after President Donald Trump was projected to have been defeated by Democrat Joe Biden.

Authorities say several members of the Oath Keepers shouldered their way through the crowd on Jan. 6 and into the Capitol in a military-style stack formation. Group members are accused of setting up “quick reaction force” teams that stationed weapons outside of Washington and were prepared to deliver arms to group members and associates if they believed the need arose.

In late December 2020, Rhodes wrote in a chat that the only chance Trump had to succeed in overturning the election outcome was if he and the Oath Keepers frightened members of Congress and “convince them it will be torches and pitchforks time is (sic) they don’t do the right thing. But I don’t think they will listen,” according to the indictment.

Rhodes did not enter the Capitol building on Jan. 6, but authorities say he was communicating with Oath Keepers outside on the Capitol grounds. Phillip Linder, one of the lawyers representing Rhodes, said his client intends to fight the charges. Rhodes remains jailed in Texas and has a detention hearing this coming Thursday.

“We believe he is not a flight risk, not a danger and should be released,” Linder said after Rhodes’ first court appearance on Friday.

Rhodes has said in interviews with right-wing hosts that there was no plan to storm the Capitol and that the members who did so went rogue. But he has continued to push the lie that the 2020 election was stolen.

University at Albany assistant professor Sam Jackson, author of the book “Oath Keepers: Patriotism and the Edge of Violence in a Right-Wing Antigovernment Group,” said it wasn’t clear to him before the indictment whether Rhodes or Oath Keepers leaders were involved in a plot to attack the Capitol.

“Now it’s clear that that is the case,” he said. “It’s also clear that national leadership was not solely focused on some anticipated or perceived threat from antifa or other opponents of Donald Trump. But they really were thinking about, ‘OK, how do we prevent the certification of the Electoral College vote if members of Congress don’t see things the way that we do?’”

The last sedition case was filed in 2010 against members of a Michigan militia. Two years later, they were acquitted by a judge who said their hateful diatribes didn’t prove they ever had detailed plans for a rebellion.

Lawyer William Swor, who represented Hutaree militia leader David Stone, said prosecutors in the decade-old case failed to prove that group members were “more than just talking” and were “actively planning to oppose the government.”

“It’s a substantial burden on the government and it is a substantial risk,” he said. “If the government fails to meet its burden, they’re out on the street.”

Among the last successful convictions for seditious conspiracy stemmed from the storming of the Capitol in 1954 when four Puerto Rican nationalists opened fire on the House floor, wounding five representatives.

Mark Pitcavage, a senior research fellow at the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism, said the collapse of earlier sedition cases against far-right extremists suggests that judges and juries may have difficulty believing that a small group of people “seriously thought they could take on the entire U.S. government.”

Pitcavage said prosecutors in the case against Oath Keepers appear to have a “tremendous amount of evidence about planning beforehand” as well as compelling video evidence of the group members storming the Capitol.

“That sort of evidence was largely missing from all these previous cases,” Pitcavage said. “Sedition cases, in my opinion, are always inherently risky to a certain degree. But I do think prosecutors in this case have a far stronger case to make for the jury than some of their predecessors did.”

If convicted of seditious conspiracy, the defendants could face a maximum prison sentence of 20 years, compared with five for the other conspiracy charges.

In all, more than 700 people have been arrested and charged with federal crimes in the Jan. 6 riot. More than 70 defendants remain detained on riot charges. At least 186 defendants have pleaded guilty to riot-related charges as of Thursday.

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Republished with permission from The Associated Press.


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Kachelman: Alert to a Most Disturbing Survey of January 2022!

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ALERT TO A MOST DISTURBING SURVEY OF JANUARY 2022!

Guest post by John L. Kachelman, Jr.

COVID-19: Democratic Voters Support Harsh Measures Against Unvaccinated

“While many voters have become skeptical toward the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a majority of Democrats embrace restrictive policies, including punitive measures against those who haven’t gotten the COVID-19 vaccine.

TRENDING: Fauci Warns There Are Five Stages in a Pandemic… and We Are Still in the First Stage

“A new Heartland Institute and Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds”…click link to read the entire article.

For the bullet points of the frightening survey see below.

You may say this cannot happen in the USA. I say, “Dream on! Be aware! WAKE UP!” Our USA Constitutional boundaries are no longer respected. Obama claimed the US Constitution was an old document and needed revising. Cal Thomas wrote in 2008,

“Obama said the Constitution mostly ‘says what the states can’t do to you … what the federal government can’t do to you, but it doesn’t say what the federal government or state government must do on your behalf.’ That’s because the Constitution is about liberty and protecting citizens from oppressive and invasive government. This is scary stuff…Barack Obama thinks the Constitution and the country it helped create should be remade in his image. He wants to be a Founding Father of a different America, one that would bear little resemblance to the country we have known.”

Obama’s promise of a transformation of our nation is more of a reality than most admit. Rasmussen’s poll reveals how little personal freedoms are cherished and respected in our nation. This is illustrated in the eager sacrifice of personal liberty to the COVID idiocy.

Look at the highlighted points of the Rasmussen survey posted 13 January…This is the USA folks!

  • 59% of self-identified Democrats support the government requiring unvaccinated individuals to stay at homes “at all times” unless an emergency arises that warrants going outside. 35% of Democrats surveyed “strongly” support the government confining the unvaccinated.
  • 45% of Democrats would like the government to involuntarily detain unvaccinated Americans and have “federal or state government require that citizens temporarily live in designated facilities or locations if they refuse to get a COVID-19 vaccine.”
  • 29% of Democratic voters would support temporarily removing parents’ custody of their children if parents refuse to take the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • 55% of Democrats favor a proposal that would fine unvaccinated Americans.
  • 47% of Democrats favor a government tracking program (using digitally implanted chips to track unvaccinated people to ensure that they are quarantined or socially distancing from others for those who won’t get the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • 75% of Democrats support Dr. Anthony Fauci.

According to the published Rasmussen: “Among voters who have a Very Favorable impression of Biden, 51% are in favor of government putting the unvaccinated in ‘designated facilities,’ and 54% favor imposing fines or prison sentences on vaccine critics. By contrast, among voters who have a Very Unfavorable view of Biden, 95% are against ‘designated facilities’ for the unvaccinated and 93% are against criminal punishment for vaccine critics.”

You say, “it will not happen.” Understand this undeniable, inescapable fact—history’s past presents history’s present and magnifies history’s future! Look back at the way previous State-sponsored resettlement of populations deemed “a threat to the health and welfare of society” were treated! Look back at the “designated facilities” where millions were confined for “the welfare of the nation.”

AND NOTE…IT WILL NOT STOP WITH THE JABS, ENDLESS BOOSTERS, ETC…this government has an evil appetite that will not be placated! The issue is personal freedom vs governmental overreach. The more the government gets the more it wants! All the DEMS need to be successful in the passage of the “NASA bill.”

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WATCH: Arizona Gubernatorial Candidate Kari Lake: “DAY ONE – We Will Issue A Declaration Of Invasion”, Plans An Interstate Compact To Secure Southern Border

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There is a crisis at Arizona’s southern border with Mexico, and Trump-endorsed Gubernatorial Candidate Kari Lake has a bold solution.

Lake recently spoke at President Trump’s Save America rally in Florence, Arizona.

Arizona GOP Candidate Kari Lake on OAN: Biden “Couldn’t Even Attract the Number of People at the Port-o-Johns” at a Trump Rally (VIDEO)

Part of the border in Yuma, Arizona, doesn’t even have a barrier, and illegal immigrants just walk into our country so that Border Patrol can pick them up, process them, and send them into America with a court date. Their court dates are often years away.

TRENDING: Fauci Warns There Are Five Stages in a Pandemic… and We Are Still in the First Stage

The Gateway Pundit reported on this area and even captured video of illegal immigrants literally running to the Border Patrol agents.

EXCLUSIVE: Illegal Immigrants Cross Border In San Luis Where NO WALL OR FENCE Is Present – Then Run Towards Border Patrol (VIDEO)

The Gateway Pundit reported that Kari Lake announced plans to finish President Trump’s wall as Governor of Arizona.

In her official policy release, Kari established, “Any budget that fails to fully fund the border wall’s completion will be vetoed.”

On day one, Lake promises to issue a declaration of invasion to prevent the millions of illegal immigrants, cartel members, and trafficking victims, as well as the drugs that kill our communities, from pouring across our border.

The fraudulent Biden regime has turned every state into a border state by shipping illegal immigrants as far as New York on airplanes, busses, and other means of public transportation.

EXCLUSIVE: Some Illegal Immigrant Children Shipped from the Southern Border End Up at New York Adoption Agency

Lake will draft an interstate compact with other states to protect our nation from this foreign threat. States like New York and Pennsylvania will be able to send aid to the border. 

The Gateway Pundit correspondent Jordan Conradson spoke with Kari Lake about her aggressive plans.

Conradson: Let’s talk about your border policy. An interstate compact to do what the federal government basically won’t. So can you tell us more about what that means, the wall, and how you will ensure these criminals get arrested and actually deported?

Lake: Yeah, well, First of all, it’ll start on day one, and I will take my hand off the Bible after taking the oath of office, and we will issue a declaration of invasion. We have an invasion going on at our border. And it’s not just people coming across who are unvetted. We have deadly drugs coming across in record numbers, and it’s destroying our state. It’s destroying our country because what happens in Arizona as it pertains to the border doesn’t stay here. So in effect, every state is a border state. And we’re going to process these people coming across. So first of all, we’re going to work by starting up an interstate compact with other states, and we’ll work together, pool resources, pool intelligence. We’ll let the federal government know what’s going on, but we’re not going to wait for their approval. They have dropped the ball. It’s a dereliction of duty. Article four, section four requires that they protect us from invasion, and they’re not doing that, and there’s a remedy in the US Constitution. Our forefathers were brilliant. It’s almost as if they saw this day coming. Article I Section 10 allows us to take control and fight back and protect our citizens from an invasion, and we will do that. We will do that, and we will embolden our law enforcement. And we will allow our Arizona National Guard, which I, as Governor, would be the commander in chief of. And I will allow them to start stopping people at the border, arresting them for trespassing, processing them, and sending them back across the border. We’re not going to take this influx of people, many of them criminals, terrorists coming across, cartel operatives, they’re going back, and we have every right to protect our state. Every right, and we need to start doing it now. We don’t need to ask permission from the federal government who’s dropped the ball, turned their backs on us, and I think they’ve done it intentionally under Joe Biden. And I say it’s time we abandoned Brandon and start taking control of our state once again and making sure that our citizens are safe so that our kids can go out on the street and play like we did when we were kids, and they can be safe when they walk down the street. I’m tired of what’s happening in this state, and I think the moms and dads and citizens of Arizona are tired of it as well.

Conradson: That’s right, and this is a national security issue. They are sending them all across the nation, putting them on planes, processing them, giving them court dates four to five years away.

Lake: You’re right, and Joe Biden is behind this. Taking all of the people coming here illegally, many of them dangerous people, and they’re shipping them all over the country. And I think we’re going to be able to find a lot of states that want to join that interstate compact with us to help us. They can send their National Guard, they can send their police, and they can send, you know, just security and help for us and resources because we need to protect our border here in Arizona to protect the people in every state. South Dakota, Iowa, Wyoming, Florida. Every state’s affected by this, and I think there will be a real push from governors across this country to say we’re going to protect our citizens as well.

Read Kari Lake’s plan to defend Arizona from the invasion here.

Lake urges Arizona Governor Doug Ducey to take action immediately and enact these changes before he leaves office.

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CNN Scrambles to Explain Away Joe Biden Saying 2022 Midterms Could Be “Illegitimate”

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CNN hosts scrambled to explain away Joe Biden’s remark during his car crash of a press conference when he said that the 2022 mid-term elections could be “illegitimate.”

Former President Donald Trump was vehemently monstered by the media both in 2016 and 2020 for suggesting the election outcome could be compromised.

Following the riot on January 6 last year, Trump’s so-called undermining of the election process was blamed for the raid on the Capitol itself.

Tens of millions of Trump supporters who believe the 2020 election was rigged have also been denounced as everything from dangerous radicals to domestic terrorists.

So when Joe Biden questioned the legitimacy of the upcoming election during a live press conference, the media was placed in an invidious position.

Biden was asked by a reporter if the election could be considered legitimate if he was unable to pass his voting reforms.

“It all depends on whether or not we’re able to make the case to the American people that some of this is being set up to try to alter the outcome of the election,” Biden responded.

This second attempt from Biden on whether the election will be legit is even worse.

“Oh, yeah, I think it could easily be illegitimate … The increase in the prospect of being illegitimate is in proportion to not being able to get these reforms passed.” pic.twitter.com/nCyuAWSMXm

— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) January 19, 2022

“I’m not saying it’s going to be legit,” Biden added, before noting, “The increase in the prospect of being illegitimate is in direct proportion to us not being able to get these reforms passed.”

Both Maryland Senator Ben Cardin and West Virginia’s Joe Manchin quickly expressed concern at Biden’s rhetoric.

CNN hosts also scrambled to explain away Biden’s clumsy response.

“Well, particularly the first part, Anderson, what he said was–actually, the entire thing, but particularly the first part was, probably the most jarring to hear a president of the United States who is not Donald Trump even suggest, ahead of time, that an election isn’t legitimate,” said Dana Bash.

She continued, “Having said that, the important thing to keep in mind is what he was trying to say, and that is in places like Arizona and places like Georgia, especially, that will determine, votes will determine not only the governor’s race, but this balance of power in the Senate, you have another Senate race there. The laws that were put in place in Georgia were such that the legislature — the Republican-led legislature has the ability to take the power away from the secretary of state to determine an election.”

“That is what he was trying to say, but it’s not exactly how he said it, which is why it was so jarring. The people who know what he was trying to say get it. But still, with this kind of language, given where we are with the Republican party and how you have a former president trying to continue to sew doubt and claim that the election in 2020 was stolen, which is a total lie. That is an area where I know talking to Democrats they believe the president needs to be a lot more nuanced,” Bash added.

This serves as yet another reminder as to why Biden barely ever holds press conferences.

After she lost in 2016, Hillary Clinton also repeatedly questioned the legitimacy of the election, blaming Trump’s win on the baseless Russian collusion conspiracy theory.

“It’s OK when we do it!”

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