Four people who marched with the Oath Keepers militia into the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, were convicted on Monday of conspiracy to obstruct the work of Congress, bringing an end to the third and final trial examining the role that members of the far-right group played in the attack.
The four defendants — Sandra Parker, Laura Steele, Connie Meggs and William Isaacs — were also found guilty of an array of other charges, including destruction of government property and conspiracy to prevent members of Congress from discharging their duties by certifying the results of the 2020 election.
Two other people charged in the case — Ms. Parker’s husband, Bennie Parker, and Michael Greene, a close associate of Stewart Rhodes, the leader of the Oath Keepers — avoided conviction on conspiracy charges, but were both found guilty of illegally entering and remaining on the Capitol grounds.
The verdicts, handed up after more than a week of deliberations in Federal District Court in Washington, followed the convictions at two separate trials of Mr. Rhodes and five other members of his group on charges of seditious conspiracy, the most significant count to have been brought so far against any of the 1,000 people arrested in connection with the Capitol attack.
Mr. Rhodes and one of his top lieutenants, Kelly Meggs, the husband of Connie Meggs, were both found guilty of sedition at a trial that ended in November. In January, in another trial, four other Oath Keepers — Roberto Minuta, Joseph Hackett, David Moerschel and Edward Vallejo — were also convicted of sedition.
Understand the Events on Jan. 6
The defendants in the latest Oath Keepers trial never faced sedition charges and mostly played less significant roles in the Capitol attack than those in the two earlier trials. Mr. and Mrs. Parker, a retired couple from Ohio, were in their 60s and 70s, for example, and Mr. Isaacs, as his lawyer repeatedly argued, suffered from a severe form of autism.
Still, the jury apparently believed the prosecution’s claims that they had broken the law by either entering the Capitol or by breaching barricades outside and going into a restricted area.
“They seized and claimed a building that cannot belong to them alone,” Alexandra Hughes, a prosecutor, said of the defendants during her closing statement this month. “They imposed their will on the democratic process. They violated a principle that we all must abide.”
The three Oath Keepers trials have now led to felony convictions against 15 members of the group, all but crippling an organization that at its height had tens of thousands of adherents and conducted self-appointed vigilante missions for more than a decade in cities across the country.
The plight of the Oath Keepers stands in stark contrast to that of the Proud Boys, another far-right group whose leaders and members have faced charges in connection with Jan. 6. Even though five Proud Boys — including the group’s former chairman, Enrique Tarrio — are now on trial in the same federal courthouse facing sedition charges, the organization has remained involved in far-right events and operations.
In the latest Oath Keepers trial, Mr. Parker and Mr. Greene, a former soldier appointed by Mr. Rhodes to serve as his handpicked “ground commander” on Jan. 6, fared better with the jury than the rest of the defendants. Neither man went inside the Capitol that day, and the jurors acquitted each of some of the charges they faced while failing to return a verdict on others.
Much like in the other two trials, statements made by Mr. Rhodes played a central role in this one. Prosecutors showed the jury reams of encrypted messages that Mr. Rhodes had sent to his compatriots in the run-up to the Capitol attack, many of them calling for civil war.
“On the 6th, they are going to put the final nail in the coffin of this republic, unless we fight our way out with Trump preferably or without him,” one of the messages read. “We have no choice.”
In building its case, the government explained how each of the defendants had supported Mr. Trump after his loss in the election and believed his lies that the results of the vote had been marred by widespread fraud.
Prosecutors also called Caleb Berry, a former Oath Keeper, to the stand and had him tell the jury how he and the defendants took part in “a huddle” with Kelly Meggs outside the Capitol just before storming into the building. Mr. Berry testified that Mr. Meggs told the group, “We are going to go and try and stop the vote count” — a reference to the election certification process.
Prosecutors then showed how after the huddle, Ms. Parker, Ms. Meggs, Mr. Isaacs and Ms. Steele, a former police officer, went into the Capitol, with half of the group moving toward the Senate and the other half moving toward the House.
Each of the defendants sought in their own way to dispute the charges, with Mr. Isaacs’s lawyers claiming that his autism gave him “mind blindness” during the riot and that he never intentionally took part in the attack.
Ms. Steele’s lawyer told the jury that she had played an exceptionally minor role in the assault.
“She was just there,” the lawyer, Peter Cooper, said during his closing statement, “merely present, in the background, doing nothing.”
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