- The head of the far-right group Oath Keepers has been arrested in the Capitol riot investigation.
- Elmer Stewart Rhodes and 10 others were charged with seditious conspiracy on Thursday.
- Thursday’s arrests mark the first time prosecutors have brought sedition charges related to the riot.
The leader of the right-wing extremist group Oath Keepers, Elmer Stewart Rhodes, was arrested on Thursday, and he and ten others were charged with seditious conspiracy in connection to the Capitol riot, The Washington Post reported.
Rhodes’ arrest is the most significant yet and marks the first time federal prosecutors have brought sedition charges in connection to the Justice Department’s sprawling investigation into the deadly January 6, 2021 Capitol siege.
Rhodes has said he was at the Capitol that day but did not enter the building, according to the Post.
But prosecutors say key members of right-wing extremist groups including the Oath Keepers not only forced their way into the Capitol but also extensively planned for it beforehand by, among other things, keeping a “quick reaction force” on standby at a Virginia hotel.
The Post noted that prosecutors have also alleged that some of the pro-Trump rioters specifically traveled to Washington, DC, at Rhodes’ urging and that he began discussing how to keep Trump in the White House as early as November 9, 2020, two days after major news networks declared Joe Biden the winner of the presidential election.
Rhodes’ arrest comes after the House select committee investigating the riot subpoenaed Rhodes along with the leaders of other far-right groups including the Proud Boys and the 1st Amendment Praetorian.
The groups are the most high-profile right-wing extremists to have been involved in the violent breach of the Capitol during the certification of then-President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral victory.
Rhodes’ arrest also comes days after Attorney General Merrick Garland delivered remarks on the eve of the anniversary of the Capitol siege, and vowed that the Justice Department has “no higher priority” than holding those involved accountable.
He also characterized the Capitol riot investigation as “one of the largest, most complex, and most resource-intensive investigations in our history.”
This story is developing. Please check back for updates.