time.com – By MICHAEL KUNZELMAN, ALANNA DURKIN RICHER and LINDSAY WHITEHURST / AP – (WASHINGTON) — The founder of the Oath Keepers extremist group was sentenced Thursday to 18 years in prison for orchestrating a weekslong plot that culminated in his followers attacking the U.S. Capitol in a bid to keep President Joe Biden out of the White House after the 2020 election.
Stewart Rhodes is the first person charged in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack to be sentenced for seditious conspiracy, and his sentence is the longest that has been handed down so far in the hundreds of Capitol riot cases.
It’s another milestone for the Justice Department’s sprawling Jan. 6 investigation, which has led to seditious conspiracy convictions against the top leaders of two far-right extremist groups authorities say came to Washington prepared to fight to keep President Donald Trump in power at all costs.
Before handing down the sentence, the judge told a defiant Rhodes that he is a continued threat to the U.S., saying it’s clear Rhodes “wants democracy in this country to devolve into violence.”
“The moment you are released, whenever that may be, you will be ready to take up arms against your government,” U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta said.
It was one of the most consequential cases brought by the Justice Department, which has sought to prove that the riot by right-wing extremists like the Oath Keepers was not a spur-of-the-moment protest but the culmination of weeks of plotting to overturn Biden’s election victory.