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Oath Keepers founder to seek release from jail ahead of sedition trial

Rhodes, 56, is the most high-profile defendant of the more than 725 people charged with playing a role in the attack by then-President Donald Trump's supporters. He is one of 11 members or associates of the Oath Keepers facing a seditious conspiracy charge.

Stewart Rhodes of the Oath Keepers poses during an interview session in Eureka
Oath Keepers militia founder Stewart Rhodes poses during an interview session in Eureka, Montana, on June 20, 2016.
JIM URQUHART/REUTERS
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WASHINGTON — Right-wing Oath Keepers militia founder Stewart Rhodes will ask a U.S. judge on Wednesday to release him from jail as he awaits trial on a charge of seditious conspiracy for his alleged role in plotting the deadly Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the Capitol.

Rhodes, 56, is the most high-profile defendant of the more than 725 people charged with playing a role in the attack by then-President Donald Trump's supporters. His lawyer said there is no evidence that Rhodes conspired to block Congress from certifying Joe Biden's election.

He is one of 11 members or associates of the Oath Keepers facing a seditious conspiracy charge.

He is accused of spearheading a conspiracy to block the certification of the presidential election by recruiting co-conspirators and even stationing armed "quick reaction force" units outside of Washington to be ready to stop the peaceful transfer of power.

A U.S. magistrate judge in Texas last month ruled Rhodes should be detained, after hearing testimony from an FBI agent as well as Rhodes' ex-wife who expressed concerns for her safety.

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He is currently being held in a jail in Texas. He has asked U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta to free him from custody and to permit him to remain in Texas, where he contends it will be easier for him to prepare for his defense with his lawyers.

"For over one year after the events of January 6, 2021, the government knew of Rhodes’ location at his residence in North Texas and yet failed to detain him at any time," his attorneys wrote in their brief.

Prosecutors are expected to argue that Rhodes poses a risk of flight and a threat.

"He possesses the willingness and capacity to continue to engage in criminal conduct," they wrote.

(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; editing by Mark Heinrich.)

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