4 more Oath Keepers convicted of seditious conspiracy in Jan. 6 Capitol attack
Four Oath Keepers members on trial for actions tied to the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack were found guilty Monday of plotting to halt the peaceful transfer of power from former President Donald Trump to Joe Biden.
Joseph Hackett of Florida, Roberto Minuta of Texas, David Moerschel of Florida and Edward Vallejo of Arizona were convicted of seditious conspiracy in a second trial against members of the right-wing militia group.
The four were convicted on two other conspiracy charges, plus obstructing an official proceeding. Three of the four – Minuta, Hackett and Moerschel – were acquitted of lesser charges.
Monday's outcome follows November convictions on the same rare charge of two other Oath Keepers, leader Stewart Rhodes and a top deputy, Kelly Meggs. Three other Oath Keepers were acquitted of seditious conspiracy in that trial, but found guilty of other charges.
Prosecutors argued in the six-week trial that the Oath Keepers on trial worked in tandem with other members of the right-wing militia group to storm the Capitol and stop the certification of the 2020 election results.
"They talked together, they acted together, they deleted together," said Louis Manzo, a trial attorney serving as special assistant U.S. attorney.
But defense attorneys for the four Oath Keepers suggested the government "cherry-picked" evidence, assembling messages and videos together in whichever way made the defendants look as guilty as possible.
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What is seditious conspiracy?
Legally, seditious conspiracy occurs when two or more people conspire to “overthrow, put down or to destroy by force” the U.S. government or bring war against it, or plot to use force to oppose the authority of the government or to block the execution of a law.
It's one of 57 federal crimes under the terrorism enhancement statute and can carry a 20-year prison sentence along with a maximum fine of $20,000.
Before the sedition convictions of Rhodes and Meggs, the government had not won a guilty verdict on the charge since 1995.
In the room: What we learned in the courtroom of the first Oath Keepers' trial
What did the government argue?
Prosecutors argued in closing remarks Wednesday that the four Oath Keepers on trial subscribed to a "perverted version of American history" that led them to the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, when they stormed the building in aim of stopping the certification of the 2020 election.
After that, the conspiracy continued, the government alleged, showing evidence the defendants planned to continue efforts to stop the peaceful transfer of power from Trump to Biden.
"Jan. 6 was just a battle," Manzo told the jury. "The full conspiracy was to stop the peaceful transfer of power."
What did the defense argue?
Defense attorneys argued Thursday that the government "cherry-picked" evidence to portray the defendants in a negative light, building their case on "selective evidence and scary words."
"This case is about a narrative in search of evidence," said William Shipley, defense attorney for Minuta.
Seditious conspiracy: What is seditious conspiracy, the rare charge four Oath Keepers face?
First Oath Keepers trial: Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes found guilty of seditious conspiracy in Jan. 6 attack
Proud Boys trial: Proud Boys on trial for charges stemming from Jan. 6 Capitol riot. What we know.
Jan. 6 arrests: Search through USA TODAY's database
Contributing: Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 4 Oath Keepers found guilty of seditious conspiracy in January 6 riot