PLANO, Texas — The founder and leader of the far-right Oath Keepers militia group must remain behind bars until he goes on trial on sedition charges arising from last year’s assault on the U.S. Capitol, a federal magistrate ruled Wednesday.
Stewart Rhodes had been jailed since his Jan. 13 arrest on charges that he plotted with others to attack the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, to stop Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory.
In a 17-page opinion, U.S. Magistrate Judge Kimberly Priest Johnson concluded that no bail conditions would either assure public safety or that the 56-year-old Granbury, Texas, man would make court appearances.
Prosecutors had urged Rhodes’ continued detention, while his attorneys urged that friends or relatives have custody. One of Rhodes’ lawyers, James Lee Bright, said Wednesday that he and his co-counsel disagree with aspects of Johnson’s ruling and will be filing an appeal Thursday to the district court judge handling the case in Washington. He said Rhodes is “doing well” and looks forward to his trial.
Rhodes and 10 others were the first to be charged with sedition for their roles in the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot in which five people died. A federal indictment alleges Oath Keepers for weeks discussed trying to overturn the election results and preparing for a siege by purchasing weapons and setting up battle plans.
The indictment against Rhodes alleges Oath Keepers formed two teams, or “stacks,” that entered the Capitol. The first stack split up inside the building to separately go after the House and Senate. The second stack confronted officers inside the Capitol Rotunda, the indictment said. Outside Washington, the indictment alleges, the Oath Keepers had stationed two “quick reaction forces” that had guns “in support of their plot to stop the lawful transfer of power.”