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Stewart Rhodes, the founder of the far-right group known as the Oath Keepers, was sentenced to 18 years in prison for seditious conspiracy and other crimes related to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, receiving the longest sentence in a Jan. 6 case to date.

Judge Amit Mehta of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia imposed the sentence Thursday after a hearing in which Rhodes declared himself a “political prisoner” and likened himself to former President Donald Trump. 

Prosecutors wanted 25 years for Oath Keepers founder

CBS News reports prosecutors had asked Mehta to impose a sentence of 25 years in prison, saying Rhodes, who is 58, qualified for a more lengthy sentence under federal anti-terrorism laws given the “threat of harm and the historic significance” of his crimes. Mehta agreed to impose the enhancements, noting that Rhodes did not demonstrate “acceptance of responsibility” for his role in the attack. It was the first time the terrorism enhancement has been applied to a Jan. 6 defendant.

Delivering a withering rebuke to Rhodes before handing down the sentence, Mehta said he presents “an ongoing threat and a peril to this country and its democracy.” 

Seditious conspiracy “is among the most serious crimes an individual American can commit,” he said. “It’s an offense against the government, to use force. It’s an offense against the people of the country.”

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CBS News reports a jury convicted Rhodes and other Oath Keepers last November for a host of crimes related to Jan. 6, when a mob of Trump supporters breached the Capitol in an attempt to block the formal transfer of power from Trump to President Biden. 

“You are not a political prisoner, Mr. Rhodes,” Mehta said. “You are here for that conduct, not because of your beliefs … You stand convicted because 12 jurors in the District of Columbia … convicted you of sedition.”

“We all now hold our collective breaths with an election approaching.  Will we have another January 6th? That remains to be seen,” the judge said of the consequences of Rhodes’ actions. 

Hailing from Charlotte North Carolina, born litterateur Ezekiel J. Walker earned a B.A. in Psychology at Winston Salem State University. Walker later published his first creative nonfiction book and has...

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