The Journal Gazette
 
 
Friday, January 14, 2022 1:00 am

Oath Keepers charged in riot

1st accused of seditious conspiracy

Associated Press

WASHINGTON – Stewart Rhodes, the founder and leader of the far-right Oath Keepers militia group, and 10 other members or associates have been charged with seditious conspiracy in the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol, authorities said Thursday.

Despite hundreds of charges already brought in the year since pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol in an effort to stop the certification of President Joe Biden's 2020 election victory, these were the first seditious conspiracy charges levied in connection with the Jan. 6, 2021, attack.

It marked a serious escalation in the largest investigation in the Justice Department's history – more than 700 people have been arrested and charged with federal crimes – and highlighted the work that has gone into piecing together the most complicated cases. The indictment alleges Oath Keepers for weeks discussed trying to overturn the election results and preparing for a siege by purchasing weapons and setting up battle plans. They repeatedly wrote in chats about the prospect of violence and the need, as Rhodes allegedly wrote in one text, “to scare the s— out of” Congress. And on Jan. 6, the indictment alleges, they entered the Capitol building with the large crowds of rioters who stormed past police barriers and smashed windows, injuring dozens of officers and sending lawmakers running.

Authorities have said the Oath Keepers and their associates worked as if they were going to war, discussing weapons and training.

Also

Jan. 6 defendant rapped about attack

A South Dakota man charged this week with storming the U.S. Capitol last year performed rap songs about the riot in videos posted on YouTube, federal authorities say.

Billy Knutson has a YouTube channel under the username “Playboythebeast,” an FBI agent said in a court filing. Knutson, 36, of Mitchell, South Dakota, said on social media that he was at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and posted photos of himself outside the building, a relative told the FBI.

One of the songs on Knutson's YouTube channel is called “Patriots: Message To The World” and has more than 60,000 views. “We been fighting for y'all, and this how you treat us? Calling us traitors and claim we not peaceful?” he sang.


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