Stewart Rhodes, the leader and founder of the far-right Oath Keepers militia, was arrested on Thursday and charged with seditious conspiracy for organizing a wide-ranging plot to storm the Capitol last Jan. 6 and disrupt the certification of Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s electoral victory, federal law enforcement officials said.
The arrest of Mr. Rhodes was a major step forward in the sprawling investigation of the Capitol attack and the case marked the first time that prosecutors had filed charges of sedition. According to his lawyer, Jonathon Moseley, Mr. Rhodes was arrested at shortly before 1 p.m.
Mr. Rhodes, a former Army paratrooper who went on to earn a law degree at Yale, has been under investigation for his role in Jan. 6 since at least last spring when, against the advice of his lawyer, he sat down with F.B.I. agents for an interview in Texas. He was at the Capitol on Jan. 6, communicating by cellphone and a chat app with members of his team, many of whom went into the building. But there is no evidence that he entered the Capitol.
The Oath Keepers, along with the Proud Boys, have emerged as the most prominent far-right extremists to have taken part in the assault on the Capitol. Prosecutors have collected reams of evidence against them, including encrypted cellphone chats and recordings of online meetings. They have charged its members not only with forcing their way into the building in a military-style “stack,” but also with stationing an armed “quick reaction force” at a hotel in Virginia to be ready to rush into Washington if needed.
That a Yale Law School grad decided it was a dandy idea to chat with the FBI about his totally patriotic and non-seditious participation in last January’s festivities is the real chef’s kiss here.
Hopefully this is just the beginning of much more along these lines, so we skeptics can end up eating plenty of crow (lightly infused with a balsamic reduction) regarding Joe Biden’s very deliberate Attorney General.