A judge rejects defense efforts to overturn the January 6 guilty verdict of an Oath Keeper aide
WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge on Tuesday upheld an obstruction conviction against a Virginia man who was on trial with members of the extremist group Oath Keepers in Virginia. One of the most dangerous cases It brought the rebellion of January 6, 2021.
US District Judge Amit Mehta rejected a defense attempt to overturn a Washington jury’s guilty verdict against Thomas Caldwell, a retired US Naval intelligence officer who was convicted last November in 2013. US Capitol Attack alongside the founder of the Oath Keepers Stuart Rhodes.
Mehta said there was enough evidence to convict Caldwell, of Perryville, Virginia, of obstruction of an official proceeding — and in this case, for Congress to certify the charge. Joe Biden wins the 2020 election on President Donald Trump – and tampering with documents or proceedings.
The judge said that although Caldwell did not enter the Capitol, the evidence supports the argument that he assisted extremists who… They stormed the building. The judge pointed to Caldwell’s own words, including a letter from the evening of January 6 in which he wrote: “So I grabbed my American flag and said let’s take over the fucking Capitol…I said let’s break in and hang up the American flag.” Traitors.”
Caldwell and his attorney, David Fisher, appeared remotely on a video conference while the judge read his written ruling. Fisher later said Caldwell was disappointed but respected the court’s decision.
Caldwell was initially charged with Seditious plot Along with Rhodes and other right-wing extremists, the Justice Department described him as a key figure in what prosecutors said he was Conspiracy To keep Republican Trump in power after losing the 2020 elections to Democratic Biden.
But jurors acquitted Caldwell of sedition and two other conspiracy charges after a months-long trial.
Rhodes was sentenced in May to prison 18 years in prison After jurors found him guilty of seditious conspiracy and other serious charges. The judge postponed Caldwell’s sentencing while he considered his attorney’s challenge to the jury’s verdict. Caldwell is now scheduled to be sentenced on November 16.
Prosecutors alleged that Caldwell helped coordinate “quick reaction force” teams stationed outside D.C. that were designed to get weapons into the hands of extremists if necessary. Weapons were never deployed, and lawyers for the Oath Keepers said they were only there for defensive purposes in case they were attacked by left-wing activists.
Caldwell Take the position of witness He downplayed letters he sent before January 6, including one that floated the idea of getting a boat to transport “heavy weapons” across the Potomac River. Caldwell said he was never serious about it, calling it “creative writing.”
Fisher, the defense attorney, noted that Caldwell was a disabled veteran who sometimes used a cane to walk, and he told jurors he “couldn’t get out of a paper bag.” Fischer said there was no plot to attack the Capitol or stop the certification of Biden’s win, saying Caldwell wasn’t even planning to go to the Capitol until Trump’s speech on the Oval urging his supporters to do so. “Fight like hell” Before the riots.
Finally, six Oath Keepers were found guilty of seditious conspiracy, the most serious charge brought by prosecutors in the January 6 attack. There were more than 1,100 people Charged with federal crimes resulting from the riots, more than 650 defendants pleaded guilty.
After another trial, former Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio and three other Proud Boys were found guilty of sedition in what prosecutors said was a separate plot to stop the transfer of power. Tarrio was sentenced this month to 22 years in prison.
Richter reported from Boston.
This article originally appeared on apnews.com