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Stewart Rhodes Falsely Convicted of Sedicous Conspiracy #179199
11/29/2022 11:38 PM
11/29/2022 11:38 PM
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Stewart Rhodes founder of the Oath Keepers was falsely Convicted of Seditious Conspiracy in a kangaroo court. Stewart Rhodes and other Oath Keepers were set up by government agent provocateurs as was the Hutaree Militia in Michigan who were found innocent of Seditious Conspiracy in 2012 by a Black activist judge.

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Two Oath Keepers, Including Founder Stewart Rhodes, Found Guilty of Jan. 6 Seditious Conspiracy
By Madalina Vasiliu
November 29, 2022 Updated: November 29, 2022
https://www.theepochtimes.com/oath-...lty-of-seditious-conspiracy_4879052.html

WASHINGTON—Stewart Rhodes, founder of the Oath Keepers militia group, was found guilty by a jury on Nov. 29 of seditious conspiracy connected to the events on Jan 6, 2021.

One co-defendant, Kelly Meggs, was also found guilty of seditious conspiracy on Tuesday, while three others—Kenneth Harrelson, Jessica Watkins, and Thomas Caldwell—were acquitted of that charge.

In total, Rhodes was found guilty on three out of five counts: seditious conspiracy, obstruction of an official proceeding, and tampering with documents or proceedings.

Meggs was found guilty on five counts out of six: seditious conspiracy, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of an official proceeding, conspiracy to prevent an officer from discharging any duties, and tampering with documents.

Stewart Rhodes, founder of the Oath Keepers, center, speaks during a rally outside the White House in Washington, on June 25, 2017. (Susan Walsh/AP Photo)

The other three defendants were each found guilty on multiple lesser charges.

In closing arguments, defense attorneys said the government failed to prove that the Oath Keepers planned to attack the Capitol or to interfere with the certification of Electoral College votes on Jan. 6, 2021.

A defense lawyer said that none of the 50 witnesses in the Oath Keepers trial testified that they heard any of the defendants discuss or plan to storm the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

However, in the final rebuttal, U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Nestler said that according to the jury instructions (pdf), the government did not have to prove that the defendants had a detailed plan to breach the Capitol and meet in person to discuss their alleged scheme. An implicit agreement and mutual understanding were enough to prove the defendants’ conspiracy, he said.


Nestler told the jury that the three defendants who decided to take the witness stand to testify in their defense (Stewart Rhodes, Thomas Caldwell, and Jessica Watkins) allegedly lied.

“But it’s important to ask not just whether they lied. Ask yourself, why? Because the truth is so damning,” Nestler emphasized.

The government told the 14 jurors that the defendants deleted evidence that could prove even further their plan to breach the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

James Bright, the attorney for Rhodes, asked the jury how the Oath Keepers could conspire as early as November 2020 to storm the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, if the Jan. 6 rally wasn’t announced until late December 2020.

Rhodes founded the Oath Keepers organization in 2009 to assist in natural disaster situations, Bright said, to volunteer to provide security for small businesses that could not afford security services from a regular company and to offer personal security details for VIPs.

Several members of the Oath Keepers testified during the weeks-long trial, saying that the organization gave them a sense of purpose since most members were retired veterans who found meaning in continuing to serve the country.

During nearly two months of trial, the U.S. prosecutors presented exhibits showing contact between the five defendants on trial and others who allegedly plotted to storm the Capitol on Jan. 6.

Most of the government’s evidence came from the FBI agents assigned to investigate the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol breach. Text messages, video footage, Signal messages (an encrypted messaging app), and Zello audio recordings (a walkie-talkie app) were frequently shown in the courtroom, among other exhibits.

In his closing argument, defense counsel Bradford Geyer walked the jury through a video where he pointed out that unknown provocateurs broke through the Capitol doors first.

“Please send Ken home,” Geyer told the jury.

Another defense attorney, David Fischer, explained an unsent message that Thomas Caldwell, an Oath Keeper affiliate, deleted containing a link. That shouldn’t be considered evidence, the attorney said, since a link is not a document. That link was a video available to everyone, Fischer continued.

The prosecution distorted timeframes throughout its presentation of when the defendants walked up the stairs and entered the building, argued Jonathan Crisp, Jessica Watkins’ attorney. He also said that the government’s evidence was mostly out of context. Crisp explained that the stack formation was a way to get through the dense crowd and not for attacking the Capitol.

Only defendants Jessica Watkins, Kelly Meggs, and Kenneth Harrelson entered the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. Rhodes and Caldwell did not.

In the aftermath of Jan. 6, the U.S. government charged Stewart Rhodes, Kelly Meggs, Kenneth Harrelson, Jessica Watkins, and Thomas Caldwell with seditious conspiracy, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, aiding and abetting, conspiracy to prevent an officer from carrying out any duties, destruction of government property, civil disorder, and tampering with documents.

Before passing the trial to the jury on Nov. 21 evening, Judge Amit Mehta, an appointee of Barack Obama, reminded the jurors that the trial was against the five defendants on trial and not against the Oath Keepers’ organization.

Edward Tarpley, attorney for Rhodes said, “The judge treated us with respect.”

“There was no evidence ever introduced that there was a plan,” Tarpley told The Epoch Times, “I am grateful for the jury for not finding them guilty on all counts.”

“Jessica testified well, however, the government will seek multiple enhancements,” Jonathan Crisp, attorney for Jessica Watkins, told The Epoch Times.
Seditious Conspiracy

The most recent charge of seditious conspiracy was in 2010 when the government accused nine members of the Hutaree Militia from Michigan of “levy war against the United States.” An FBI agent who infiltrated the militia group provided most of the prosecution evidence.

When the defendants’ trial began two years later, in 2012, U.S. district judge Victoria Roberts dismissed the conspiracy charges. The judge explained that the government’s evidence mainly consisted of the defendants’ controversial speech protected by the First Amendment and did not prove the group’s alleged plan to overthrow the government.

The U.S. government pressed multiple charges, including attempted murder and seditious conspiracy, against five members of the Puerto Rican Nationalists who attacked the Capitol in 1954. The group opened fire on the House of Representatives and injured five Congress members.

Another seditious conspiracy charge was pressed in 1995 against Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman and nine of his followers. They were found guilty of planning to bomb bridges, tunnels, and other landmarks in New York City.

In 2006, Adam Gadahn was the first American charged with treason since World War II. He “gave al Qaeda aid and comfort … with intent to betray the United States.”


www.TexasMilitia.Info Seek out and join a lawful Militia or form one in your area. If you wish to remain Free you will have to fight for it...because the traitors will give us no choice in the matter--William Cooper
Re: Stewart Rhodes Falsely Convicted of Sedicous Conspiracy [Re: Texas Resistance] #179200
11/30/2022 12:30 AM
11/30/2022 12:30 AM
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Well, crap. I had heard the trial was going pretty well. I guess not. frown

Onward and upward,
airforce

Re: Stewart Rhodes Falsely Convicted of Sedicous Conspiracy [Re: Texas Resistance] #179201
11/30/2022 12:13 PM
11/30/2022 12:13 PM
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Did FBI INSTIGATE The January 6 Riots?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=--fTF7zhk4g


Meet Ray Epps: The Fed-Protected Provocateur Who Appears To Have Led The Very First 1/6 Attack On The U.S. Capitol
https://www.revolver.news/2021/10/m...very-first-1-6-attack-on-the-u-s-capitol

Meet Ray Epps, Part 2: Damning New Details Emerge Exposing Massive Web Of Unindicted Operators At The Heart Of January 6
https://www.revolver.news/2021/12/damning-new-details-massive-web-unindicted-operators-january-6


www.TexasMilitia.Info Seek out and join a lawful Militia or form one in your area. If you wish to remain Free you will have to fight for it...because the traitors will give us no choice in the matter--William Cooper
Re: Stewart Rhodes Falsely Convicted of Sedicous Conspiracy [Re: Texas Resistance] #179204
12/01/2022 11:38 AM
12/01/2022 11:38 AM
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US CITIZEN HOSTAGES UPDATE: Innocent US protestors from January 6th still being held ‘hostage’ in DC jail – Will Republican House release them all?
Wednesday, November 30, 2022 https://www.naturalnews.com/2022-11-30-january-6-protestors-still-being-held-hostage.html

There’s an American hostage crisis going on right now and it’s not in Iran, Russia, North Korea, or China, it’s in Washington D.C. US citizens are being held against their will, with no trial in sight, and according to sources, are being tortured and abused daily. More than 800 US citizens were arrested nearly two years ago for simply walking past police and federal agents who assisted their entry into the capital, and only 185 of those folks have had a right to a trial (and been sentenced).

After stealing the 2020 POTUS election with fake ballots and rigged voting machines, the communist Biden Regime wanted to make sure anyone who questions the (non)validity of the election would be thrown in Gulags like in communist countries, and made an example of, for all patriotic Americans to fear.
The insurrection happened when the Democrats stole Washington DC, and the extreme Leftist insurgents are still occupying the territory while holding American prisoners

Democrat politicians and their billionaire (globalist) cohorts have taken control of a huge swath of American soil between Virginia and Maryland, and the military forces for the entire country. Over 800 American citizens tried to stop the takeover two years ago, January, and are now prisoners of ‘war,’ being held captive and tortured with bouts of starvation and floors covered in feces.

The American Gulag is no joke, and it’s not fake news, Russian disinformation, or a “conspiracy theory.” In fact, the American Hostage Crisis is now being addressed by congressman Matt Gaetz, who says when the House of Representatives is restored to Republican power in January, he aims to release every second of security footage from the Capital ‘invasion’ that reveals most people were ushered to enter by DC police AND undercover FBI agents.

For the crime of protesting criminal activity during our biggest election ever, loyal patriots and law-abiding Americans are now being tortured in prison with no constitutional rights, and some have already committed suicide (or been ‘suicided’ by the Democrat cult) who couldn’t handle the concentration-camp-style abuse.
See: Jan. 6 protesters subjected to extreme TORTURE, starvation and deliberate malnutrition – raw sewage flows into jail cells while MOLD grows on cell walls https://naturalnews.com/2021-11-01-...starvation-malnutrition-sewage-mold.html

Congressman Gaetz is already on the record saying, “While Kevin McCarthy has said he would disband the January 6th Select Committee, I would repurpose it. I would take over their snarky little Twitter account, and pump out 14,000 hours of video so the American people can see what really happened.”
According to members of Congress who are not part of the Democrat insurrection, protesters from January 6th are entitled to a fair trial

Even if a handful of the protesters from January 6th destroyed property or fought cops, that certainly doesn’t qualify them as domestic terrorists who can be jailed without due process. We all witnessed Antifa thugs and BLM rioters fighting police, burning cars, and destroying businesses during the reverse-racism riots in most metropolitan cities.

The American Hostage Crisis is a serious one, and a threat to all Americans who don’t support their right to peacefully protest and contest thwarted elections and US citizens being held captive, even on our own soil by our own rogue government. There currently exists whistleblower documents, audio transcripts, and text messages that reveal FBI informants who influenced protesters to enter the capital on that heated day. This is evidence that would most likely exonerate the Proud Boys and Trump supporters whose goal was to simply have the election investigated and/or redone fairly. Where’s the crime in that?


www.TexasMilitia.Info Seek out and join a lawful Militia or form one in your area. If you wish to remain Free you will have to fight for it...because the traitors will give us no choice in the matter--William Cooper
Re: Stewart Rhodes Falsely Convicted of Sedicous Conspiracy [Re: Texas Resistance] #179222
12/06/2022 10:24 PM
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Oath Keepers Verdict:
A Dangerous Escalation in Criminalizing Dissent


New ground is set with every egregious indictment and conviction with dire consequences for the future of political speech and activity.

By Julie Kelly
December 1, 2022

One year after the events of January 6—despite their best efforts—federal prosecutors still hadn’t filed a single criminal charge that came anything close to resembling “insurrection” or domestic terrorism. Democrats and regime media were agitated: How could they continue promoting the four-hour disturbance as an attempted coup if the most prevalent offense charged by the Department of Justice a year later was the petty misdemeanor of “parading” in the Capitol? Even the chief judge for the D.C. district court overseeing each January 6 case had publicly expressed her frustration that the government wasn’t producing harsher indictments against Trump supporters.

So Matthew Graves, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, swooped in to save face. Eleven members of the Oath Keepers, an alleged militia group, were charged on January 12, 2022 with seditious conspiracy for their involvement in the Capitol protest. Elmer “Stewart” Rhodes and 10 others were accused of conspiring “to oppose by force the authority of the Government of the United States, and by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States.” The law the Oath Keepers attempted to stop, Graves claimed, was the “peaceful transfer of power” vested in both the 12th and 20th amendments.

The indictment was preposterous on its face, something only a grand jury seated in the most Democratic city in the country could countenance. None faced a weapons charge, raising the natural question of how a group of military veterans, most suffering various degrees of service-related disabilities, planned to overtake the government “by force” without a single firearm or explosive device. Despite constant talk in the media about the Oath Keepers’ quick reaction force, individuals who brought weapons with them on the drive to Washington left them behind in a Virginia hotel—legally—so as to not violate the city’s strict gun control laws.

Some militia.

Only one man, Joshua James, was accused of assaulting police in a heated confrontation with officers that afternoon. (He later pleaded guilty to seditious conspiracy after the government moved to take away his military benefits—James was nearly killed by a roadside bomb in Bagdad in 2007 at age 19, suffers lifelong injuries, and was awarded a Purple Heart—and threatened the father of three young children with life in prison if convicted.)

Two groups of Oath Keepers, described as “stacks” by prosecutors, entered the Capitol about 30 minutes after the building had been evacuated; the first group walked through doors that were opened from the inside on the east side. The second group entered shortly after 3 p.m. and exited a short time later.

Over a seven-week trial for the first five defendants, which started in September, prosecutors presented evidence of inflammatory chats featuring military-style bravado and condemnations of a stolen presidential election. Jurors watched a repetitive loop of videos showing three of the defendants entering the Capitol as well as screenshots of selfies taken inside the Rotunda. Jessica Watkins, a transgender Oath Keepers member from Ohio, was heard on an encrypted audio channel bragging about “sticking to the plan” before she and others entered the building. But far from acting as “insurrectionists” or terrorists, Oath Keepers viewed themselves as “backups” for law enforcement, available in case Antifa or Black Lives Matter rioters caused trouble as they had for months in Washington during the second half of 2020.

And witness after witness, including those for the government, admitted the defendants did not plan in advance to “storm” the Capitol. No matter—prosecutors argued that the accused could have entered into the “conspiracy” at any time, including moments before they walked inside the Capitol, and that the agreement didn’t require any specificity or overt consent. “The government also does not have to prove that all members of the conspiracy directly met, or discussed between themselves their unlawful objectives, or agreed to all the details, or agreed to what the means were by which the objectives would be accomplished,” the final jury instructions read. “What the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt is that two or more persons in some way or manner arrived at some type of agreement, mutual understanding, or meeting of the minds to try to accomplish a common and unlawful objective.”

Jurors did not hear, however, from numerous FBI informants including the group’s vice president, who suffered a medical emergency as he boarded a plane for D.C. to testify. Judge Amit Mehta also refused to allow the jury to hear expert testimony and evidence of “agents provocateurs” located outside the east side of the building near the Oath Keepers yet remain unidentified and uncharged to this day.

Defense witnesses who saw the defendants act as a barrier between unruly protesters and law enforcement, including Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn who took the stand for the prosecution during the trial, were prevented from testifying.

But the vagueness of the law’s language, the piecemeal body of evidence, and Judge Mehta’s obvious preference for the government’s case teed up the inevitable outcome: two men, Rhodes, who never went inside the Capitol on January 6, and Kelly Meggs, were found guilty of seditious conspiracy, the first Americans ever convicted of the exceptionally rare crime. (The last time the Justice Department brought seditious conspiracy charges against U.S. citizens in 2010, a federal judge tossed the case out of court.) Three others were acquitted of the charge. All five were found guilty of obstruction of an official proceeding, a post-Enron statute intended to prevent tampering with evidence during a congressional investigation not interrupting a government function.

The verdicts, cheered by the media and the regime, will serve as an accelerant in the Justice Department’s bastardization of arcane (seditious conspiracy) and inapplicable (obstruction of an official proceeding) laws to criminalize political dissent in the wake of January 6. An act of sedition no longer requires proof of an elaborate plan engineered months if not years in advance, the use of heavy weaponry, and attempts to injure or kill lawmakers or law enforcement officials to take over government functions. All it requires is some heated rhetoric on social media or in private group chats coupled with a nonviolent entry into a public building.

“The most punishing aspect of the Kelly Meggs conviction is the fact he walked through an open door with no resistance from law enforcement and stayed inside the Capitol for 17 minutes where he led a prayer with other Oath Keepers in the Rotunda,” investigative journalist Steve Baker, who covered each day of the trial, told American Greatness on Thursday. “Then he walked to the stairwell where he diffused a potentially disastrous situation with Officer Dunn.” (Dunn, carrying an M-4 rifle, also had to be calmed down by a supervisor that afternoon.)

“Ninety percent of the government’s case relied on scary words, and Kelly Meggs definitely had some scary words,” Baker said. “But now he faces up to 86 years in prison.”

Baker said prosecutors had “all the resources to present this slick, fast, audio visual of interspersing slides and recordings taken out of context” to persuade the jury. But looking at the mixed verdicts of guilty and not guilty, Baker said, “makes no sense.”

It makes sense, of course, in terms of bolstering the phony, empty narrative that Trump supporters are domestic terrorists and that January 6 was a near-coup incited by the former president. Justice Department officials took turns commending themselves for a job well done. “As this case shows, breaking the law in an attempt to undermine the functioning of American democracy will not be tolerated,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a press release issued shortly after the verdicts were read. “The FBI will always uphold the rights of all citizens who peacefully engage in First Amendment protected activities, but we and our partners will continue to hold accountable those who engaged in illegal acts regarding the January 6, 2021, siege on the U.S. Capitol.”

Laughably referring to the jury as “impartial,” a near-impossibility in a city that voted 93 percent for Joe Biden in 2020, Graves claimed the result ”reaffirms the strength of our democracy and the institutions that protect and preserve it, including our criminal justice system.”

Steven D’Antuono, head of the Detroit FBI field office during the Whitmer fednapping hoax and retiring head of the Washington FBI field office, bragged that “this case shows that force and violence are no match for our country’s justice system.”

Force and violence? Show your work, Mr. D’Antuono.

Not to be outdone in the hyperbole department, the January 6 select committee also claimed victory, immediately tying the verdicts to Trump. “The Select Committee’s investigation demonstrated that when Donald Trump summoned a mob to assemble in Washington, DC on January 6th, the Oath Keepers and other extremist groups heard that call and began to plan and coordinate,” Representatives Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) said in a statement. “It’s vital that there be accountability for every vile aspect of January 6th and the events that led to that day’s tragedy.”

The real tragedy isn’t what happened on January 6 but the retaliatory, inhumane, and destructive way the Biden regime and Congress have handled the matter ever since. New ground is set with every egregious indictment and conviction with dire consequences for the future of political speech and activity. As bad as it looks now, the worst is yet to come.


"The time for war has not yet come, but it will come and that soon, and when it does come, my advice is to draw the sword and throw away the scabbard." Gen. T.J. Jackson, March 1861
Re: Stewart Rhodes Falsely Convicted of Sedicous Conspiracy [Re: Texas Resistance] #179225
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'January 6' Trials Remind Us Why We Must Abolish Seditious Conspiracy Laws

Tuesday, Dec 06, 2022 - 05:55 PM

Authored by Ryan McMaken via The Mises Institute,

Last week, a District of Columbia jury convicted Stewart Rhodes and Kelly Meggs of seditious conspiracy in relation to the January 6, 2021 riot at the US Capitol building.

Three other defendants were acquitted of seditious conspiracy but convicted of other felonies.

Convictions of seditious conspiracy represent a political victory—not just a legal one—for those who have long insisted that the January 6 riot was no mere riot, but an organized armed rebellion of some sort.

This claim has been key in the administration's ongoing vague claim that "democracy"—however defined—is somehow "at risk."

Yet, few of the legal proceedings arising out of the Justice Department's prosecutions of rioters have done much to forward this narrative. Out of the approximately 850 people charged with crimes of various sorts, only a small number have been charged with anything close to treason or violent insurrection. Specifically, the closest the Justice Department has come is the charge of "seditious conspiracy" applied to 11 defendants total. So far, only 2 have been convicted of the charge.

Seditious conspiracy must not be confused with the act of treason legally defined in the US Constitution, however. Generally speaking, while treason requires an overt act of some kind, seditious conspiracy is a charge that a person has said things designed to undermine government authority. In other words, it is a "crime" of intent as interpreted by state authorities. This is fundamentally different from picking up a weapon and using it against agents of a government.

Of course, as we've noted here at mises.org before, the very idea of treason is itself problematic since it assumes that violence against a government agent is somehow worse than a crime against a private citizen. Governments love this double standard because it reinforces the idea that the regime is more important than the voluntary private sector. Ultimately, however, violence against a person or property should be prosecuted as exactly that, and not as some separate category of crime against the "special" human beings who work for a regime.

Seditious conspiracy suffers from this same problem but is even more problematic because it relies primarily on circumstantial evidence to "prove" that a person was saying things in favor of obstructing or overthrowing a government. Indeed, the supposed necessity of such a "crime" is belied by the fact that so such crime even existed in federal law between the repeal of the hated Alien and Sedition Acts, and the advent of the Civil War. Nor did seditious conspiracy laws play an important role in the US regime's military success against the secessionists in the Southern Confederacy.

Instead, what we find is that seditious conspiracy is a crime that is both prone to abuse by state authorities and is unnecessary in terms of preventing violence to life and property. In cases such as the January 6 riot, crimes against persons and property ought to simply be considered violent crimes and property crimes of the usual sort. Contrary to absurd romantic notions that the January 6 rioters struck some sort of blow against "democracy" the fact is that any disruptions against Congressional proceedings can be addressed as assault, trespassing, and other related crimes. Seditious conspiracy, in contrast is merely a type of "thoughtcrime."

The Origins of Seditious Conspiracy


When the framers of the United States constitution wrote the document's text, they defined treason in very specific and limiting terms:

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

Note the use of the word "only" to specify that the definition of treason shall not be construed as something more broad than what is in the text. As with much of what we now find in the Bill of Rights, this text stems from fears that the US federal government would indulge in some of the same abuses that had occurred under the English crown, especially in the days of the Stuart monarchs. Kings had often construed "treason" to mean acts, thoughts, and "conspiracies" far beyond the act of actually taking up arms against the state. Instead, in the US constitution, the only flexibility given to congress is in determining the punishment for treason.

Naturally, those who favored greater federal power chafed at these limitations and sought more federal laws that would punish alleged crimes against the state. It only took the Federalists ten years to come up with the Alien and Sedition Acts which stated:

That if any persons shall unlawfully combine or conspire together, with intent to oppose any measure or measures of the government of the United States, which are or shall be directed by proper authority, or to impede the operation of any law of the United States, or to intimidate or prevent any person holding a place or office in or under the government of the United States, from undertaking, performing or executing his trust or duty, and if any person or persons, with intent as aforesaid, shall counsel, advise or attempt to procure any insurrection, riot, unlawful assembly, or combination, whether such conspiracy, threatening, counsel, advice, or attempt shall have the proposed effect or not, he or they shall be deemed guilty of a high misdemeanor

Note the references to "intent," "counsel," and "advise" as criminal acts so long as these types of speech are employed in a presumed effort to obstruct government officials. This part of the Act however, was never used by the regime. Those prosecuted under the Alien and Sedition Acts were charged under the section on seditious libel which were heartily opposed for being obviously and blatantly against basic rights of free expression. Nonetheless, the Sedition Act was allowed to expire thanks to the election of Thomas Jefferson and the Republicans (later known as Democrats).

For sixty years, the United States government had no laws addressing sedition on the books. But the heart of the 1798 Sedition Act would be revived. As passed on July 1861, the new Seditious Conspiracy statute stated

That if two or more persons within any State or Territory of the United States shall conspire together to overthrow, or to put down, or to destroy by force, the Government of the United States, or to oppose by force the authority of the Government of the United States; or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States; or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States against the will or contrary to the authority of the United States; or by force, or intimidation, or threat to prevent any person from accepting or holding any office, or trust, or place of confidence, under the United States . . . shall be guilty of a high crime

Given the timing of the legislation—i.e., in 1861 following the secession of several southern states—it is assumed the origins of the legislation at the time was in addressing alleged Confederate treason. This is not quite the case. Indeed, the legislation enjoyed considerable support from those who were especially militant in their opposition to the confederacy. For example, Rep. Clement Vallandigham of Ohio—who would later be exiled to the Confederacy for opposing the war—supported the bill precisely because he thought it would help in punishing those engaged in "conspiracies to resist the fugitive slave law." Indeed, the Congress had initially become serious about punishing "conspiracies" not in response to southern secession, but in response to John Brown's 1859 raid in Harper's Ferry.

Southern secession and fears of rebellion helped enlarge the coalition in favor of a new sedition law. The new sedition law represented a significant expansion of the idea of "crimes against the state" in that the sedition law did not require overt acts against the government, but merely "conspiring" vaguely defined. Douglas understood this perfectly well, explaining the benefits of his bill as such:

You must punish the conspiracy, the combination with intent to do the act, and then you will suppress it in advance. There is no principle more familiar to the legal profession than that whenever it is proper to declare an act to be a crime, it is proper to punish a conspiracy or combination with intent to perpetrate the act. . . . If it be unlawful and illegal to invade a State, and run off fugitive slaves [for example] why not make it unlawful to form conspiracies and combinations several States with intent to do the act?

Others were more suspicious of expanding federal power in this way, however. Sen. Lazarus Powell and eight other Democrats presented a statement opposing the passage of the bill.2 Specifically, Powell and his allies believed the new seditious conspiracy law would be a de facto move in the direction of allowing the federal government to effectively expand the definition of treason offered by the federal constitution. The statement read:

the creation of an offense, resting in intention alone, without overt act, would render nugatory the provision last quoted, [i.e. the treason definition in the Constitution] and the door would be opened for those similar oppressions and cruelties which, under the excitement of political struggles, have so often disgraced the past history of the world.

Even worse, the new legislation would provide to the federal government "the utmost latitude to prosecutions founded on personal enmity and political animosity and the suspicions as to intention which they inevitably engender."

Seditious conspiracy legislation gives the federal government far greater leeway to punish political opponents. Certainly, such legislation could have indeed been used against opponents of the fugitive slave acts, as well as against opponents of federal conscription. After all, opponents of both the Civil War draft and the Vietnam War draft—as with the heroic draft-card burnings of the Catonsville Nine, for example—"conspired" to destroy government property. It would be far harder to prove in court that such acts constituted treason. Unfortunately, the new legislation was ultimately approved in 1861, and the United States government had its first permanent laws against seditious conspiracy.

We now have the same reasons to fear seditious conspiracy laws as Powell did in 1861. Such measures allow the federal government to construct laws addressing intent, thoughts, and words, rather than overt acts. This greatly expands federal power and allows for prosecution of mere inflammatory rhetoric against the federal government. Indeed, prior to his conviction this week, Rhodes's attorneys reminded jurors that Rhodes never even entered the capital on January 6. They also noted that Rhodes had expressed verbal opposition to entering the capital. Yet, he was apparently convicted because "conspiracy" can encompass so many acts, especially in the minds of jurors.

A common-sense foundation for addressing violence in the Capitol building, however, would be to simply prosecute those who engage in actual violence and trespass. It is clear, however, that gaining convictions for seditious conspiracy has been an important goal for the administration because it assists in the narrative that Donald Trump's supporters attempted some sort of coup. Unfortunately, These sorts of political prosecutions are just the sort of thing we've come to expect from the Justice Deptrtment.

While the FBI can't be bothered with investigating sex criminals such as Larry Nassar, they'll pull out all the stops to prosecute hundreds of those who entered the Capitol on January 6, many of whom simply stood around gawking at the scenery. But when Congress gives the FBI a near carte blanche as it has done with seditious conspiracy laws, we should expect as much.


"The time for war has not yet come, but it will come and that soon, and when it does come, my advice is to draw the sword and throw away the scabbard." Gen. T.J. Jackson, March 1861
Re: Stewart Rhodes Falsely Convicted of Sedicous Conspiracy [Re: Texas Resistance] #179226
12/07/2022 12:46 PM
12/07/2022 12:46 PM
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 23,057
Tulsa
airforce Online content
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airforce  Online Content
Administrator
Senior Member
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 23,057
Tulsa
Great minds think alike! I was going to post that article yesterday, and it slipped my mind. Thanks, ConSigCor!

Onward and upward,
airforce


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