Three members of the Oath Keepers and a fourth person associated with the far-right militia group were convicted Monday of seditious conspiracy by a Washington DC jury for their role in the January 6, 2021 uprising.
The four men – Roberto Minuta, Joseph Hackett, David Moerschel and Edward Vallejo – were charged with conspiracy to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory, a conspiracy that culminated in the attack on the US Capitol.
The convictions are another victory for the Justice Department, which filed the rare indictment against members of the far-right militia early last year. After a 10-week trial this fall, Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes and Kelly Meggs, a Florida group leader, became the first of the group to be found guilty of seditious conspiracy.
A sentencing date has not been set, but all four defendants will be placed under house arrest until sentencing, Judge Amit Mehta said Monday. They will not be allowed to have any firearms in their home and all four will have restrictions on their phone communication and internet use.
The defendants on trial in the case were Minuta, a New Jersey Oath Keeper whom prosecutors described as one of Rhodes’s “most trusted men”; Hackett, an alleged recruiter for the Florida Oath Keeper who prosecutors say has a knack for hiding his identity; Moerschel, an alleged part of the so-called stacking formation that prosecutors say acted as a “battering ram,” pushing through the crowd into the Capitol; and Vallejo, one of the alleged leaders of the armed rapid reaction force, which prosecutors say called for “guerrilla war” on the morning of Jan. 6.
In addition to the seditious conspiracy charges, Minuta, Hackett, Moerschel and Vallejo were also found guilty of conspiracy to obstruct official proceedings, obstruction of official proceedings and complicity, as well as conspiracy to prevent a member of Congress from performing official duties.
Hackett was found guilty of tampering with documents or proceedings.
Hackett and Moerschel were found not guilty of destruction of government property. Minuta and Moerschel were found not guilty of tampering with documents or proceedings.
Jury deliberations in the case began last week after prosecutor Louis Manzo, during his closing arguments, led the jury through weeks of testimony and told jurors to ignore defense attorneys’ arguments that the four men are innocent because they merely followed Rhodes.
In their own closing arguments, the lawyers for the four men argued that their clients had not conspired to stop a Biden presidency, saying the administration’s case provided no evidence of a plan to storm the US Capitol. The lawyers also repeatedly argued that the government not only manipulated evidence, but that there was no evidence of a conspiracy between the group, saying that while the jury might find their clients’ statements offensive, there was no reason to overrule them. convict of conspiracy to stop the certification of the election.
This story has been updated with additional details.