An Oath Keeper who acted as part of a security detail on January 6 for Roger Stone before rushing to join the riot at the Capitol was sentenced to more than four years in prison Thursday for seditious conspiracy.
Roberto Minuta, who prosecutors described as one of Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes’ “most trusted men,” was not initially at the Capitol but sped over in a golf cart when he learned of the breach, prosecutors said.
Once inside, he joined a crowd pushing against police and screamed, “This was bound to happen.”
Prosecutors showed jurors violent messages and videos of Minuta, including one where he screamed that “millions will die…get your f**king soul ready” while driving to Washington, DC for January 6.
“This isn’t about the words themselves,” Judge Amit Mehta said during the sentencing hearing Thursday. “You weren’t charged and convicted because of your words. It’s because your words reflected your state of mind. Your words reflected what you were thinking, and ultimately why you came to Washington.”
“I don’t think this idea that you sort of lost your way for a few hours that day is entirely accurate,” Mehta said.
In addition to the seditious conspiracy charges, Minuta was found guilty of conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of an official proceeding and aiding and abetting, as well as conspiracy to prevent a member of Congress from discharging their official duties. He was acquitted of one charge of tampering with documents.
Before the sentence was handed down Thursday, Minuta told Mehta that he grew angry over Covid-19 restrictions in New York, and claimed he and his family were receiving “in person death threats by Anitfa.”
Minuta said he was “misled and naïve” about the purpose of the Oath Keepers, thinking its purpose was to protect people and businesses against leftist protesters, and that the “deranged leadership” of Rhodes “turned the organization into a political rah-rah disaster.”
“Had I known, I would never have put myself in a situation like that, especially for a president that I had genuine disdain for,” Minuta said, adding that he was “repulsed by Mr. Rhodes’ lack of remorse.”
Before handing down the 54-month sentence, Mehta said he recognized that Minuta’s efforts to keep his business open in light of Covid restrictions were an “act of civil disobedience,” but said that “the one line that can’t be crossed is to use violence about that very government.”
“Cloaking yourself in this tradition of the founders and violent uprising and believing that the Second Amendment allows individual citizens to gather up arms to battle their government? The law doesn’t permit that,” Mehta said.
For more CNN news and newsletters create an account at CNN.com