'Sense of entitlement' drove Oath Keepers to storm Capitol, DOJ says in closing arguments

Oath Keepers seized the chance to storm the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 as part of a seditious conspiracy to oppose the transfer of power, the Justice Department said in closing arguments Friday.

WASHINGTON — Members of the far-right Oath Keepers organization seized the opportunity to storm the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 as part of a broader criminal conspiracy to oppose the peaceful transfer of power, a Justice Department prosecutor told jurors during closing arguments in their seditious conspiracy trial on Friday.

“For these defendants, the attack on the Capitol was a means to an end,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathryn Rakoczy told jurors. The defendants were driven by a “sense of entitlement that led to frustration followed by rage and then violence,” Rakoczy said. 

Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes and four others affiliated with the far-right organization are facing charges of seditious conspiracy, a rarely used statute that makes it unlawful to conspire against the authority of the government.

Former Oath Keepers leader claims extremist groups pose 'genuine danger' to AmericansJuly 12, 202204:39Over the course of a seven-week trial which began with opening arguments on Oct. 3, jurors heard violent rhetoric aimed at Democrats and the group's desire to keep former President Donald Trump in office. Prosecutors did not present evidence that there was a pre-formed plan to storm the Capitol but argued that the alleged co-conspirators entered into an agreement to oppose the transfer of power from Trump to President Joe Biden.

Closing arguments are expected to continue into Monday when the jury will begin deliberating their verdict. Rhodes testified during the trial, as did co-defendants Thomas Caldwell and Jessica Watkins. Kelly Meggs and Kenneth Harrelson did not take the stand.


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