Stewart Rhodes, the founder and leader of the far-right Oath Keepers militia group, has been arrested and charged with seditious conspiracy in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, authorities said Thursday.
Rhodes is the highest-ranking member of an extremist group to be arrested in the deadly siege, and it is the first time the Justice Department has brought a seditious conspiracy charge in connection with the attack on the Capitol.
He is charged along with more than a dozen other members and associates of the Oath Keepers, who authorities say came to Washington, D.C., intent on stopping the certification of President Joe Biden’s election victory.
Rhodes did not enter the Capitol building during the riot, but he’s accused of helping put into motion the violence that disrupted the certification of the vote.
The Oath Keepers case is the largest conspiracy case federal authorities have brought so far over Jan. 6, when thousands of pro-Donald Trump rioters stormed past police barriers and smashed windows, injuring dozens of officers and sending lawmakers running.