Prosecutors use Oathkeeper leader’s own words against him in heated cross-examination


In a tense face-to-face exchange with Oath Keeper leader Stuart Rhodes, prosecutors used Rhodes’ own words in texts, speeches and interviews to suggest to the jury that the militia leader had misled them in his testimony because he did not Know what the other members are doing on January 6, 2021 and was shocked by the violence that day.

Rhodes is the first of five defendants to testify in federal court in Washington, D.C., charged with inciting conspiracy.

During his two-day testimony, Rhodes told the jury he had no involvement in specific plans for Jan. 6 and that he was unaware of the group’s plans for a so-called rapid response force in Virginia. As prosecutors say, get weapons into Washington quickly.

Prosecutor Kathryn Rakoczy, however, showed the jury Signal messages in which Rhodes told fellow members on Jan. 6 that “we’re going to have a QRF” because “this situation calls for it” and was the group where members shared photos of the QRF route Part of the group information can be used to go to town.

“In this operation, the responsibility stops on you,” Lakozzi said to Rhodes, reading the leader’s message aloud.

“Am I responsible for everything other people do?” Rhodes responded.

“You’re in charge, right?” Rakozzi said.

“Not if they do something that deviates from the mission,” he shot back.

“It’s convenient,” Rakozzi said with a smile.

The militia leader also told prosecutors that he “wanted to avoid” conflict and was only concerned about a civil war if Joe Biden became president – leading Rakozy to raise a question about “how the civil war will play out” [January] 21 instead of 6? ”

Rhodes testified that on January 6, “I do not condone the violence that occurred.” “Anyone who attacked the police that day should be prosecuted.”

Rakozzi noted that Rhodes made a statement in a secretly recorded conversation in the days after Jan. 6 in which he said he hoped the Oath Keeper had brought the rifle to the Capitol that day.

“If he’s not doing the right thing and he’s just allowing himself to be illegally deported, then we should bring our rifles,” Rhodes said in the recording, which prosecutors played for the jury again.

“We could have fixed it then and there,” Rhodes said of the Capitol attack, according to the recording. “I would have hung fucking Pelosi on a lamppost.”

After playing the recording, Rakoc asked Rhodes: “Four days after the Capitol attack, that’s what you said, right?”

“Yeah, after a few drinks, I was pissed off,” Rhodes testified.

Rhodes and four other defendants have pleaded not guilty to the incitement conspiracy charge.

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