A judge is considering releasing Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes on bail amid sedition charges stemming from the Jan. 6, 2021, storming of the Capitol.
”In the last year, there doesn’t seem to be any evidence — at least that was presented here today — to support that he’s a continued danger of a flight risk,” U.S. Magistrate Judge Kimberly Priest Johnson said at a bail hearing Monday in Plano, Texas, Politico reported.
The remark seemed to echo the defense’s argument Rhodes was not charged for more than a year after the Capitol riot.
”Saying he’s a danger now is disingenuous,” defense lawyer Phillip Linder said in the one-hour, 45-minute hearing, according to the report.
”Why did they wait? To me, that speaks volumes,” he said.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathryn Rakoczy argued that Rhodes should be held without bail because he is accused of blocking the peaceful transition of power with his actions during the Jan. 6 storming of the Capitol.
”It is difficult to imagine a graver risk to the society that we live in,” Rakoczy argued, calling him an ”immense” danger to be let free, Politico reported.
”Mr. Rhodes coordinated, offered to fund and facilitated the attack on the Capitol.”
More than 725 people have been charged in connection with crimes committed during the Jan. 6 riot, and Rhodes was among 10 other Oath Keepers facing charges of sedition, according to the report.
He has been held since his arrest Jan. 13, and FBI agent Michael Palian testified Monday that Rhodes was cooperative during his arrest and seizing of a phone on a search warrant.
The judge made no ruling, but Politico reported that she seemed to be leaning toward setting bail, having spoken extensively about potential custodians to supervise Rhodes before his trial.
”We thought it was a home run,” Linder said of the hearing from the defense’s perspective.
Prosecutors noted that Rhodes, a disbarred Yale Law School graduate, and the Oath Keepers had intended to testify before the House Jan. 6 Select Committee.
”He was actively cooperating,” Linder said, according to Politico. ”They thwarted that. There are people in D.C. who are not very happy with this indictment.”
Rhodes’ lawyer James Lee Bright ruled out a plea deal and vowed to take his client’s case to trial in the nation’s capital.
”Ultimately, we are going to go to trial on this in Washington,” Bright told Politico outside the courthouse. ”No question about it.”
The report state that both prosecutors and defense attorneys are likely to appeal a ruling on Rhodes’ bail, and the defense requested a stay on his being held pending any prosecution appeal.
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