Prosecutors use the Oath Keepers leader’s own words against him during heated cross-examination


In a tense exchange with Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes, prosecutors used Rhodes’ own words from texts, speeches and interviews to suggest to the jury that he had misled the militia leader when he testified that he did not know about other members. activities on January 6, 2021, and was shocked by the violence of that day.

Rhodes is the first of five defendants charged with seditious conspiracy to testify in federal court in Washington, DC.

During two days of testimony, Rhodes told the jury that he was not involved in the details of the planning for January 6, and that he was not aware of the plans for the so-called rapid reaction force that the group created in Virginia. quickly take the weapons to Washington, the prosecutor alleged.

Prosecutor Kathryn Rakoczy, however, showed the jury text messages showing Rhodes telling other members “we’re going to have a QRF” on Jan. 6 because “this situation calls for it” and were part of group messages where members shared photos of QRF routes. could be used to enter the city.

“Buck’s stuck with you on this operation,” Rakoczyk told Rhodes, reading the chief’s messages aloud.

“Am I responsible for everything everyone else did?” Rhodes replied.

“You’re in charge, aren’t you?” said Rakoczyk.

“Not if they do something outside the mission,” he replied.

“It’s comfortable,” Rakoczyk said with a smile.

The militia leader also told them he hoped to “avoid” conflict and was only concerned about a civil war starting after Joe Biden became president, prompting Rakoczy to ask “how the civil war will turn out.” [January] On the 21st and not on the sixth?”

“I do not condone the violence that occurred” on January 6, Rhodes testified. “Anyone who assaulted a police officer that day should be prosecuted for that.”

Rakoczyk pointed to statements Rhodes made in a secretly taped interview in the days after January 6, in which he said Oath Keepers wanted to bring rifles to the Capitol that day.

“If he’s not going to do the right thing, and if he’s going to allow himself to be outlawed, we’re going to have to bring in the guns,” Rhodes said in the recording, which prosecutors again played for the jury.

“We could have fixed it right then and there,” Rhodes said of the Capitol attack, according to the recording. “I’d hang the damn Pelosi from the lamp post.”

After the recording was played, Rakoczyk asked Rhodes, “That’s what you said four days after the Capitol attack, right?”

“Yeah, after a couple of drinks and I got pissed off,” Rhodes testified.

Rhodes and four other defendants have pleaded not guilty to seditious conspiracy charges.