The attorney for Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes tried to claim that his client is being scapegoated for the Capitol riots.
‘If you want to put a face on J6, you put it on Trump, right-wing media, politicians, all the people who spun that narrative,’ Philip Linder argued as Rhodes was sentenced to 18 years for leading a mob to storm the Capitol on January 6.
It is the longest sentence handed down to the hundreds of Donald Trump supporters who ransacked the seat of US democracy on January 6, 2021. Rhodes was found guilty of seditious conspiracy in November and was today found to have committed domestic terrorism.
The Yale graduate remained defiant as he stood before the judge claiming he was, like Trump, a ‘political prisoner’ and pledging ‘to expose the criminality of this regime’.
His attorney said he will appeal the conviction.
In court on Thursday, Mehta described Rhodes, a Yale-graduate who founded the Oath Keepers in 2009, as a disturbingly charismatic figure who convinced dozens of members of the far-right group to travel to Washington with the deliberate intention of stoking unrest.
‘They too are victims, victims of the lies, the propaganda, the rhetoric and ultimately the intention that you conveyed,’ Mehta said.
He denied Rhodes’ claims that he is just a political prisoner as he sided with federal prosecutors that Rhodes is a domestic terrorist who sought to influence the government through ‘intimidation or coercion.’
‘For decades, Mr. Rhodes, it is clear you have wanted the democracy of this country to devolve into violence.
‘You are not a political prisoner, Mr. Rhodes,’ he said, adding that he believes Rhodes represents an ‘ongoing threat’ to the country.
‘The moment you are released, whenever that may be, you will be ready to take up arms against your government,’ he continued.
‘What we absolutely cannot have is a group of citizens who – because they did not like the outcome of an election, who did not believe the law was followed as it should be – foment revolution,’ Mehta said before handing down the sentence.
Read More: ‘Trump is the face of January 6’: Attorney for Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes says his client has been scapegoated as he is jailed for 18 years for riot at the Capitol