Stewart Rhodes, the eye patch-wearing founder of the paramilitary group the Oath Keepers, has been arrested and charged for his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, landing the feds perhaps their biggest blow yet on far-right extremist leadership since the failed insurrection. Rhodes, a 56-year-old Army veteran and Yale Law graduate who founded the militia group in 2009, was indicted along with 10 others on Thursday and charged with several crimes, including seditious conspiracy. It is the first time prosecutors have brought sedition charges against any of the more than 700 people arrested so far in the Jan. 6 investigation, and came exactly one week after the first anniversary of the violent attack. The Thursday arrests are far from the first in the federal probe to ensnare members of the Oath Keepers, who purport to be comprised chiefly of current and former members of the military and law enforcement. Prosecutors allege the group was part of a wider conspiracy to recruit, train, and prepare for an attack on the Capitol. As The Daily Beast reported at the time, Rhodes teased his own arrest in a bizarre rant against migrants at the southern U.S. border as far back as March 2021. Jonathan Moseley, his lawyer, told The New York Times on Thursday that FBI agents had taken his client into custody. “The purpose of the conspiracy was to oppose the lawful transfer of presidential power by force, by preventing, hindering, or delaying by force the execution of the laws governing the transfer of power,” the seditious conspiracy indictment states. The indictment states that after the insurrection, Rhodes and two of his co-conspirators met at a Virginia restaurant “to celebrate their attack on the Capitol and discuss next steps,” including how to stop Biden’s inauguration. The indictment comes after Congress’ Jan. 6 committee investigating the riot previously issued subpoenas to Rhodes, along with ex-Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio and the leader of 1st Amendment Praetorian, a lower-level, far-right faction helmed by Robert Patrick Lewis. The committee’s letter to Rhodes stated, “You repeatedly suggested that the Oath Keepers should, or were prepared to, engage in violence to ensure their preferred election outcome.” It also quoted Rhodes calling on members of his group to “stock up on ammo” and gear up for a “full-on war in the streets.” Also indicted was Edward Vallejo, a 63-year-old Phoenix, Arizona, man. Vallejo’s LinkedIn identifies him as a Reserve Officer Training Corps graduate and longtime libertarian activist⁠—one personally converted to the GOP by former Texas Rep. Ron Paul, whom he describes as a “friend.” It also identifies him as a former precinct committeeman for the Arizona Republican Party and chief operating officer of Homefront Battle Buddies, a group launched by 2020 libertarian presidential candidate Adam Kokesh. Vallejo’s personal social-media feed is rife with pro-Trump posts, as well as Biblical allusions and conspiracy theories about the COVID-19 pandemic and the Jan. 6 insurrection. The Homefront Battle Buddies webpage describes him as a former Army radio telephone operator. His most recent Twitter post, from Thursday morning, seemed to allude to his arrest: “I about to enter the Phoenix Field Office of the FBI to interrogate them regarding the January 6th affair,” it read. The two men were charged with nine previously indicted individuals, including Jessica Watkins, a 38-year-old former Army vet accused of recruiting members to “fight hand to hand” to take over the Capitol; Thomas Edward Caldwell, the 65-year-old apparent leader of the Oath Keepers; and Kelly Meggs, the self-described the self-described leader of the group’s Florida chapter. Federal authorities have described the Oath Keepers as “a large but loosely organized collection of [the] 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.” Now they face their own charges of seditious conspiracy, and each faces a maximum possible sentence of 20 years in prison. The charges against Rhodes follow months of the feds dancing around implicating the Oath Keeper leader in court documents, which described him as “Person One.” Prosecutors have referred to statements made by Rhodes, attributing them to “Person One,” including a Jan. 4, 2021, recruiting letter that he signed. Prosecutors have alleged that Rhodes not only had direct contact with members already accused in the plot to prevent Congress from cer . . . read the full article here.