A second trial of defendants associated with the Oath Keepers militia group has ended with seditious conspiracy convictions for all, though the convicted men continue to plead their innocence.
Roberto Minuta, Joseph Hackett, David Moerschel and Edward Vallejo are all headed for house arrest until their sentencing dates.
All four were also found guilty of additional charges, including conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of an official proceeding and aiding and abetting, conspiracy to prevent a member of Congress from discharging their official duties, and, for Hackett alone, tampering with documents or proceedings.
He, Moerschel, and Minuta had all been accused of destroying documentation on their cell phones in order to hide their participation, but the other two were found not guilty on this charge.
Up to the end, the defense argued that the four were not guilty, claiming they couldn’t be guilty of conspiracy if they were only following along with someone else’s plan, and passing the buck to Stewart Rhodes, the Oath Keepers’ leader who was found guilty, along with four others, at the end of November.
The defense argued that the state had not proven any conspiracy or plan — but the jury disagreed.
“In their own closing arguments, defense attorneys for the four men argued that their clients had not conspired together to stop a Biden presidency, saying that the government’s case presented no proof of a plan to storm the US Capitol. The attorneys also repeatedly argued that not only was the government manipulating evidence but that there was no proof of a conspiracy between the group, saying that while the jury might find statements from their clients offensive, that wasn’t reason to convict them of plotting to stop the certification of the election,” CNN reported.
The Department of Justice gathered and presented evidence that defendants and others had used ‘stack formations’ to force their way into the Capitol, and that defendant Vallejo helped coordinate the Quick Response Teams (QRTs) that were intended to enter D.C. with weapons if called upon.
In other messages — presented in a press release — the DOJ showed Minuta discussing the notion that “the time for peaceful protest is over,” and the aforementioned Rhodes discussing with Hacket and Moerschel, among others, the use of force to prevent Biden from taking office.
While the four await sentencing in their homes, they will not be allowed access to firearms, and their phone and internet use will be limited.
Steph Bazzle covers politics and theocracy, always aiming for a world free from extremism and authoritarianism. Follow Steph on Twitter @imjustasteph.