Oath Keepers' Stewart Rhodes Played Role In Capitol Riot, US Alleges - 2021-03-09
Federal prosecutors late Monday alleged that the leader of the Oath Keepers encouraged followers to come to Washington, DC, on Jan. 6 armed with less-than-lethal weapons and later stood outside the Capitol during the insurrection directing them toward a potential entry point.
Just after 2 p.m. on Jan. 6, according to prosecutors in a new court filing, Stewart Rhodes sent a message on the encrypted Signal app to several of his followers saying: "Come to the South Side of the Capitol on steps." At 2:41 p.m., Rhodes, who is referred to in court filings as Person One, posted a photograph of the Capitol with the caption: "South side of US Capitol. Patriots pounding on doors."
Monday's filing is the clearest indication federal prosecutors have yet given that they believe Rhodes played a significant role in real-time actions on the ground on Jan. 6. Prosecutors have already charged several Oath Keepers with conspiracy for their actions at the Capitol and have described the Oath Keepers as a "loosely organized collection of militia who believe that the federal government has been co-opted by a shadowy conspiracy that is trying to strip American citizens of their rights."