Jan. 6 trial delayed after Oath Keepers’ leader gets COVID-19



The trial of a far-right extremist group leader and 4 associates charged within the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the U.S. Capitol was delayed on Monday after the Oath Keepers leader examined constructive for the coronavirus.

Jurors have been supposed to start listening to the fourth week of testimony within the case towards Stewart Rhodes and 4 others accused of plotting to cease the switch of energy from Republican Donald Trump to Democrat Joe Biden.

The choose instructed legal professionals and jurors to return Tuesday morning however it’s unclear when and the way they are going to be capable of proceed with the case.

An lawyer for Rhodes, Ed Tarpley, mentioned he was instructed by jail officers that his consumer is in “complete isolation” on the jail and wasn’t even obtainable for a cellphone name. Rhodes might be obtainable in courtroom subsequent week on the soonest if he assessments unfavorable on Sunday, however might additionally waive his look in courtroom to permit the testimony of some witnesses to go ahead.

Prosecutors have been anticipated to relaxation their case by the top of this week after which Rhodes’ attorneys have been going to start placing on their defence. Rhodes’ legal professionals have mentioned their consumer will take the stand to testify that every one of his actions have been in anticipation of orders he anticipated from Trump — orders that by no means got here.

The defendants are the primary amongst a whole lot charged within the Capitol assault to face trial on the cost of seditious conspiracy, a uncommon Civil War-era cost that carries a most sentence of 20 years in jail.

Prosecutors have mentioned Rhodes and his extremist group deliberate an “armed rise up” to maintain Trump in energy. Authorities say they’d “fast response drive” groups stationed at a Virginia resort to get weapons into the town rapidly in the event that they have been wanted and that the group was ready to cease Biden from changing into president by any means mandatory.

Defence legal professionals have accused prosecutors of cherry-picking messages and have mentioned they got here to supply safety to political figures like Roger Stone, to not perform a plan to assault the Capitol.

Testimony started on Oct. 3 and the choose had mentioned witnesses might stretch into the week of Nov. 14. The stakes are excessive for the Justice Department, which final secured a seditious conspiracy conviction at trial almost 30 years in the past and intends to strive two extra teams on the cost later this yr.

The disruption comes virtually per week after a juror was dismissed after testing constructive for COVID. The federal courthouse in (*6*) the place the trial is being held final week lifted its masks mandate, however the choose overseeing the trial was nonetheless requiring these not chatting with put on masks to keep away from an outbreak. Still, legal professionals and defendants have been sometimes seen with noses uncovered or masks pulled down underneath their chin.

On trial with Rhodes, of Granbury, Texas, are Kelly Meggs, leader of the Florida chapter of the Oath Keepers; Kenneth Harrelson, one other Florida Oath Keeper; Thomas Caldwell, a retired U.S. Navy intelligence officer from Virginia; and Jessica Watkins, who led an Ohio militia group. They face a number of different costs as properly.

They are amongst roughly 900 individuals who have been charged within the assault, which quickly halted the certification of Biden’s victory, despatched lawmakers working for canopy and left dozens of cops injured.


Richer reported from Boston


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