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Authorities makes a ultimate argument that 5 Oath Keepers conspired sedition : International

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Prosecutors delivered their closing argument Friday within the Jan. 6 seditious conspiracy trial towards Oath Keeper founder Stewart Rhodes and 4 others, telling jurors {that a} “mountain of proof” reveals the defendants plotted to make use of drive to cease the switch of presidential energy to Joe Biden.

Over roughly two hours, Assistant U.S. Lawyer Kathryn Rakoczy walked the jury by among the proof — textual content messages, movies and witness testimony — introduced over the previous seven weeks and stated it demonstrates a conspiracy to disrupt the peaceable switch of energy for the primary time in American historical past.

“Our democracy is fragile. It can’t exist with out respect for the rule of legislation,” Rakoczy stated. “And it’ll not survive if people who find themselves dissatisfied with the results of an election can use drive and violence to vary the end result. That’s what these defendants did. They conspired to — and did — halt the switch of energy on Jan. 6.”

“That’s unacceptable,” she stated. “That’s prison.”

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Rhodes and co-defendants Kelly Meggs, Jessica Watkins, Kenneth Harrelson and Thomas Caldwell are charged with seditious conspiracy, obstruction of an official continuing and different crimes in reference to the occasions of Jan. 6, 2021.

Their trial is essentially the most consequential to this point to come back out of the investigation into the lethal assault on the U.S. Capitol.

Rakoczy opened her closing argument with Rhodes’ personal phrases, citing a message he despatched on Nov. 5, 2021: “We aren’t getting by this with out a civil struggle. Put together your thoughts, physique and spirit.”

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“Two days after the presidential election,” Rakoczy instructed jurors, “Mr. Rhodes known as for struggle with all of its horrors and violence to oppose the outcomes of a presidential election. Take into consideration that.”

She stated People had been divided and offended over election outcomes earlier than in U.S. historical past, however nonetheless for 2 centuries energy had been peacefully transferred as a result of folks finally revered the rule of legislation.

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However, she stated, “not these defendants.”

“A mountain of proof has proven that these 5 defendants joined collectively and agreed to do no matter mandatory, as much as and together with the usage of drive, to cease the lawful switch of energy to Joe Biden,” she stated.

The defendants amassed an “arsenal of lethal weapons” that they dropped at the Washington, D.C., space for a fast response drive to hurry firearms downtown if mandatory on Jan. 6, she instructed the jury.

Among the defendants booked rooms on the identical resort in Virginia, the place they saved their weapons for the fast response drive — coordination, she stated, that “helps present that there was an settlement, a conspiracy.”

Rhodes, she stated, was the “orchestrator of this conspiracy and the architect” of the plan to dam the certification, whereas the opposite defendants performed numerous different management roles.

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All through the trial, prosecutors repeatedly used the defendants’ personal phrases towards them.

Rakoczy reminded the jury of inflammatory messages Rhodes despatched within the weeks and days main as much as Jan. 6, and on the day itself, and urged the jury to not turn out to be “numb” to such rhetoric.

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“Let’s be straight: the defendants’ phrases on this case weren’t the mere rantings and ravings of previous males at a barber store,” she stated. “They repeatedly known as for the violent overthrow of the U.S. authorities. They usually adopted up with motion.”

RHODES’ ATTORNEY: NO PLAN

In his closing, Rhodes’ legal professional James Lee Vibrant acknowledged that Rhodes and his codefendants engaged in quite a lot of “horribly heated rhetoric and bombast.”

“I do not agree with quite a lot of it, however it’s not indicative of a gathering of the minds,” Vibrant stated. “Venting will not be a gathering of the minds. Expressing hatred and anger will not be a gathering of the minds on this nation.”

“Is it inappropriate? Yeah. A whole lot of it. Is it one thing we want would not be accomplished. Completely,” he added. “However all of them speaking about the identical subject will not be a gathering of the thoughts.”

Vibrant instructed jurors that he’d made some extent over the course of the trial of asking witnesses three questions: Was there a plan to storm the Capitol? Was there a plan to breach the rotunda? Was there a plan to cease or delay the certification of the election?

“We have had 50 witnesses on this case. Not one particular person has testified that there was a plan. Not one,” he stated.

He pushed again towards the federal government’s portrayal of the fast response drive as an offensive drive designed to assault the Capitol, and argued that the Oath Keepers have been solely in D.C. that day to offer safety for audio system and Trump supporters.

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Ultimately, Vibrant urged the jury to rigorously think about all of the proof within the case, telling them that “lives are at stake.”

“Whenever you take the time to take a look at this by the choice lens and never simply what the federal government is providing you with, there’s a similarity of tales they usually diverge,” he stated. “They diverge with the idea of whether or not there was a gathering of the minds.”

With no assembly of the minds and a conspiracy, he requested, what did Rhodes truly do?

“He stayed outdoors. He did not go in. He did not destroy something within the Capitol. He did not have a bullhorn saying ‘Go, go, go.’ He did not push anyone,” Vibrant stated. “He filmed. He took photos.”

He closed by urging the jury to search out Rhodes not responsible on all counts.

Attorneys for the remaining defendants nonetheless must current their very own closing arguments.

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