A second federal judge ordered Stewart Rhodes, leader of the Oath Keepers group, to remain jailed pending trial on the charge of seditious conspiracy for allegedly guiding an effort to use political violence to deter the inauguration of President Biden.
On Friday, U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta of Washington denied Rhodes’s continued request for bond pending a July trial. The judge called this case the most serious of the cases brought against nearly 750 federal defendants indicted in connection with Jan. 6, 2021 riots at the nation’s Capitol.
Rhodes is accused of coordinating travel, managing teams, undergoing paramilitary training, and staging weapons. The charges state that his followers were ready “to answer Rhodes’ call to take up arms at Rhodes’ direction” before, during, and after Jan. 6.
On Jan. 6, members of the Oath Keepers entered the Capitol in helmets and combat gear, confronted police, and moved in two groups toward the Senate, according to prosecutors.
“If the conduct as alleged is true, the danger it poses cannot be understated,” Mehta said. She continued by saying that Rhodes “devised and carried out a plot to prevent the lawful transition of presidential power” while reading the detention order. Mehta also said Rhodes could “continue to plot and prepare for political violence that undermines the foundation of our democracy.”
“He presents a clear and continuing danger in my view, that has not been neutralized over the year since the rioting by his cooperation with the FBI, testimony before a House select investigative committee, or refraining from attempting to flee or obstruct justice,” said Mehta.
The decision comes after Rhodes appealed a previous magistrate judge’s order to keep Rhodes jailed until the trial in July.
Rhodes is the primary defendant in the first and only seditious conspiracy case brought by federal prosecutors in the Capitol attack.
Rhodes has pleaded not guilty to all charges. He has been detained since his Jan. 13, 2022 arrest in Texas. He was at the Capitol on Jan. 6 but has stated he did not enter the building.
Rhodes has repeatedly denied wrongdoing and said he is eager to defend his beliefs and face public trial.