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Garland: Oath Keepers' guilty convictions proves J6 organizing began almost immediately after 2020 election

Raw Story 11/30/2022 Sarah K. Burris
US Attorney General Merrick Garland (AFP) © provided by RawStory US Attorney General Merrick Garland (AFP)

WASHINGTON — Attorney General Merrick Garland spoke to reporters on Wednesday about the cases the Justice Department has focused on that saw results this week. One of them was about the water crisis in Jackson, Mississippi and holding officials accountable for violating the Safe Drinking Water Act and the cvil right to safe water. The other involved the sedition conviction for the Oath Keepers by a jury on Tuesday.

"Our work yesterday marks significant successes on each of these fronts," said Garland. Early yesterday evening a jury in the District of Columbia found five defendants associated with the Oath Keepers guilty of serious crimes related to the Jan. 6th 2021, attack on the United States Capitol. Two defendants were convicted of seditious conspiracy against the United States for conspiring to oppose by force the peaceful transfer of presidential power. Those two defendants and the three other defendants were also convicted of obstructing the certification of the electoral college vote. And various defendants were also convicted of different additional felony counts, ranging from conspiring to members of Congress, from discharging their duties, to interfering with law enforcement officers attempting to guard the Capitol during the attack, to tampering with relevant evidence after the fact."

He went on to tip his hat to the Justice Department prosecutors whose "tireless work," beginning in 2021, helped secure the conviction. "Their skill and dedication are in the very best tradition of the Justice Department and we are all extremely grateful to them."

He went on to say that the evidence showed "that almost immediately following the November 2020 election, defendant Stewart Rhodes, the founder and leader of the Oath Keepers began planning to oppose by force the peaceful transfer of power. With Rhodes, defendants Kelly Meggs, Kenneth Harrelson, Jessica Watson and Thomas Caldwell communicated and planned to travel to Washington on or around Jan. 6, 2021. On Jan. 6th, as the government’s evidence showed, the defendants Meggs, Harrelson and Watkins, forcefully breached the U.S. Capitol wearing para-military gear, while defendants Rhodes and Caldwell remained outside on the Capitol grounds coordinating activities."

When asked about the new special counsel, Garland said that from what he knows Jack Smith is getting up to speed, is moving swiftly, and noted that he already signed on to court filings for the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals hearing.

He also noted that there are other trials coming up next week for the Proud Boys involving sedition and he didn't want to speak about it to influence the trial in any way.

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