By Andrew Malekoff
The U S. Department of Justice has not successfully prosecuted a seditious conspiracy case in 27 years.
Disbarred, Yale-educated Stewart Rhodes, founder of the Oath Keepers, the largest armed militia in U.S., was found guilty of seditious conspiracy on Nov. 29 by a jury of his peers.
Also found guilty of the same charge was Rhodes’ central Florida associate Kelly Meggs.
Mr. Rhodes and Mr. Meggs attempted a coup – to overthrow a free and fair election, that withstood every legal test of credibility.
The two of them engaged in a concerted plot to interfere with the peaceful transfer of power. They were also found guilty of obstruction of government functions, along with three associates.
Rhodes and Meggs face 20-plus years behind bars. The others, 10-plus years.
These delusional “patriots” believed they were just like our nation’s founding fathers – fighting tyranny.
The unanimous jury verdict, however, was a repudiation of the Oath Keepers’ contention that, “We are patriots. The election was stolen. We came to set it right.”
The jury sent a resounding message to the Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, QAnon, Florida Three Percenters and other extremist groups that aim to subvert the U.S. Constitution: “No you are not patriots, you are traitors.”
The seditious conspiracy verdict represents a monumental moment toward more broadly correcting the disinformation grounded in Donald Trump’s election denialism that has been endlessly infectious, supremely toxic and ultimately deadly.
Whether the fever will break with this verdict remains to be seen. It will only be so, though, when those that were in power at the time, who falsely and fraudulently claimed the election was stolen and then proceeded to incite deadly violence on Jan. 6 are brought to justice.
That is if it is true in the United States that no one is above the law.
To truly stem further political violence, the full measure of justice and accountability must rise above those that were found guilty on the ground. Justice must extend to the behind-the-scenes plotters, planners, instigators and inciters that operated out of the White House and under their auspices.
As Rhodes and his confederates are pushed back beyond the margins of civil society where they belong, it is certain that the morally bankrupt Donald Trump will continue to stir the pot of white supremacy, however slickly he does it, that fuels so much of the divisiveness and hate.
In fact, there is no doubt about it.
Case in point: He lunches at his Mar-a-Lago beach house with neo-Nazi, Holocaust-denying toddler Nick Fuentes, whom he professes not to know and refuses to condemn.
Why won’t Trump condemn him? Because parasites like Nick the Nazi and those who admire him and subscribe to his hate, also like Trump, who Nick openly endorses.
And, that’s okay with Trump. Noxious ideology be damned as long as it broadens his base, activates the grift and fills his coffers.
Parasites believe they can only strengthen themselves by attaching themselves to a particular host to gain some semblance of legitimacy.
And, although, small but growing numbers of the GOP have condemned Nick the Nazi, very few have done the same to the guy who welcomed him into his home.
Incredibly, some of those same U.S. representatives have proposed investigations to support those found guilty for their actions on Jan. 6, 2021.
Above all, the jury verdict is vindication for the crime victims of Jan. 6, 2021 and, perhaps, will serve as a deterrent for others who contemplate trampling the U.S. Constitution through violent means.
“Finding Rhodes guilty is an important message to anyone who thinks the election was stolen,” said Barbara McQuade, former United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan.
Bear in mind, Stewart Rhodes is no martyr.
Just a traitor.