The founder of the Oath Keepers extremist group was sentenced Thursday to 18 years in prison for orchestrating a weeks-long plot that culminated in his followers attacking the US Capitol in a bid to keep US President Joe Biden out of the White House after the 2020 election.
Stewart Rhodes is the first person charged in the January 6, 2021, attack to be sentenced for seditious conspiracy, and his sentence is the longest that has been handed down so far in the hundreds of Capitol riot cases.
It’s another milestone for the Justice Department’s sprawling January 6 investigation, which has led to seditious conspiracy convictions against the top leaders of two far-right extremist groups authorities say came to Washington prepared to fight to keep former US president Donald Trump in power at all costs.
Before handing down the sentence, the judge told a defiant Rhodes that he is a continued threat to the US, saying it’s clear Rhodes “wants democracy in this country to devolve into violence.”
“The moment you are released, whenever that may be, you will be ready to take up arms against your government,” US District Judge Amit Mehta said.
Prosecutors had sought 25 years for Rhodes, who they say was the architect of a plot to forcibly disrupt the transfer of presidential power that included “quick reaction force” teams at a Virginia hotel to ferry weapons into DC if they were needed. The weapons were never deployed.

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