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Four oathkeepers, including Prosper, convicted of seditious conspiracy on 6 January.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Four members of the Oath Keepers were convicted on Monday of inflammatory conspiracy during the January 6, 2021 Capitol attack, in the second major trial of far-right extremists accused of conspiring to forcibly keep President Donald Trump in power. .

Verdict against Joseph Hackett of Sarasota, Florida; Roberto Minute of Prosper; David Merschel of Punta Gorda, Florida; and Edward Vallejo of Phoenix, weeks after another jury found group leader Stuart Rhodes guilty of a mob attack that prevented President Joe Biden’s electoral victory from being confirmed.

This is another major victory for the Justice Department, which is also seeking to convict the former Proud Boys leader and four associates of sedition. The trial of Enrique Tarrio and his aides began earlier this month in Washington and is expected to last several weeks.

Here’s where the January 6th case against North Texas residents

The jurors deliberated for about 12 hours over three days. The judge did not immediately set a date for sentencing.

The lawsuits are among the most serious cases brought so far in the massive January 6 investigation, which continues to expand two years after the riots. The Department of Justice has filed almost 1,000 cases, and the number is increasing every week.

Prosecutors told jurors that Oathkeeper leader Stuart Rhodes and his gang of extremists began plotting an armed uprising shortly after the 2020 election to keep Trump in power. Reports show Rhodes and the Oathkeepers discussing the prospect of a “bloody” civil war and the need to keep Biden out of the White House.

“Our democracy was under attack, but for the defendants, this was all they prepared for and a moment to celebrate,” prosecutor Louis Manzo told jurors in his closing remarks.

Prosecutors alleged that the oathkeepers stockpiled the weapons and stashed them in a hotel in Virginia for so-called “rapid reaction force” teams that could quickly move the weapons to Washington to support their plot if they were needed. The weapon was never used.

Rhodes and Florida chapter head Kelly Meggs was found guilty of sedition in a previous trial that ended in November. They were the first people in decades to be found guilty at trial on charges that carry up to 20 years in prison. Three other oath-keepers in this case were acquitted of charges, but found guilty of other serious crimes. They are all awaiting sentencing.

Defense lawyers tried to downplay the violent reports as mere bragging and said Oathkeepers were in Washington to provide security at pre-riot events. They took advantage of prosecutors’ lack of evidence that the oathkeepers had an explicit plan to storm the Capitol prior to January 6, and told the jury that the extremists who attacked the Capitol acted spontaneously, like thousands of other rioters.

Will Oath Keepers founder Stuart Rhodes cooperate to avoid a long prison sentence?

“They left evidence and chose what they wanted,” said William Lee Shipley, Minuta’s lawyer.

Prosecutors argued that while there is no evidence specifically laying out a plan to attack the Capitol, the oathkeepers saw the riots as a means to an end and acted on the obvious opportunity to help keep Trump in power.

Hackett, Merschel and other oathkeepers approached the Capitol in military-style formation before entering the building, prosecutors said. Minute and his group of the second group of Oathkeepers clashed with police after hearing Rhodes’ call to race to the Capitol, according to court documents.

Prosecutors said Vallejo, a U.S. Army veteran and Rhodes ally, traveled from Arizona to prepare with the “QRF” — a rapid reaction force — at a hotel outside of Washington. The jury heard an audio recording of Vallejo talking about “declaring a guerrilla war” on the morning of 6 January.

Three other oath holders pleaded guilty to sedition and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in the hope of a commuted sentence.

Who are the lawyers for Oath Keeper founder Stuart Rhodes in Dallas at his sedition trial?

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Reacher reported from Boston.

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