February 5, 2023

Live updates: Oath Keepers on trial for seditious conspiracy

Government prosecutors and defense attorneys on Nov. 17 announced they had finished presenting evidence in the Oath Keepers seditious conspiracy trial, wrapping up a seven-week effort to argue whether five alleged members of far-right militia plotted to stop Joe Biden from assuming the presidency.

Prosecutors showed the Washington, DC, jury hundreds of text messages, recordings and videos of the five defendants, brought seized assault rifles into the courtroom, and told the jury about the depths of the militia movement in the wake of the 2020 election.

Defense attorneys rebutted that argument by saying their clients said outlandish things, but never acted violently and never had a concrete plan to storm the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. All five have pleaded not guilty.

The jury is made up of seven men and five women. After lawyers finished presenting evidence, District Judge Amit Mehta asked one juror, a White woman who works in education at a nonprofit, to come back to the courtroom. The juror is in the process of moving to Texas and had spent several weeks expressing concern about finding a place to stay to finish the trial.

Mehta dismissed the juror, who was an alternate.

“It’s sort of nice to stop at least one thing happening in my life right now,” the juror said.

Before leaving the room, she asked Mehta whether another juror, who she described as “my buddy,” could take her seat because it was more comfortable than his. The judge laughed and said yes.

As she walked out, the five defendants, their attorneys, and the prosecutors stood up and applauded.

After she was dismissed, the jury returned to the courtroom. Mehta said to them, “I’m sorry to say you are one fewer, but I know one of you is very happy to be in the second row.”

Source link