The FBI crosses a major milestone in one of the most sensitive investigations in its history, with immense political implications. For the first time in a year, the indictment of « Conspiracy of sedition » was held against participants in the assault on the Capitol on January 6, 2021. Among the eleven people involved is Stewart Rhodes, the founder of the far-right militia of the Oath Keepers. Punishable by twenty years in prison, this charge rarely used and complex to prove shows the will of the investigators to support the operational premeditation, the day of the assault, beyond the supporters of Donald Trump carried away by the disastrous fervor. from this moment when the certification of the presidential election was almost compromised.
In one year, nearly 725 people have already been arrested, including 225 for acts of violence and obstruction against the police. In a lengthy statement, the District of Columbia attorney’s office, responsible for the investigation, detailed the charges against the members of the Oath Keepers on Thursday, January 13. They played a key role, along with the Proud Boys, in fueling popular anger and encouraging confrontation with the police officers deployed on Capitol Hill. « From the end of December 2020, via encrypted and private messaging, Rhodes and various co-conspirators coordinated and planned the trip to Washington », said the statement, adding that these men « Made plans to bring weapons into the area in support of the operation. » »
Recruitment, training, paramilitary equipment …
The indictment for « conspiracy » is justified, according to the Attorney General, by the operating mode adopted: the organization of small coordinated teams, recruitment, training, then the delivery of paramilitary equipment to the scene – « Including knives, sticks, camouflaged combat uniforms, bulletproof vests, helmets, eye protection and radio relays ». On January 6, the Oath Keepers deployed to several strategic points around the Capitol.
Shortly after 2 p.m., when the first windows flew under attack from the insurgents, Rhodes entered the perimeter around the Capitol, which was normally closed to the public. A first group of Oath Keepers advancing in grouped formation climbed the steps of the east entrance of the building, to enter it. A second group then took the west entrance. Others remained positioned « Just outside the city in rapid reaction force (FRR) teams », ready to ship firearms, the statement said. These guns were reportedly pre-positioned in a hotel room in Arlington, Virginia.
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