These are the first convictions for "seditious conspiracy" in connection with the storming of the US Capitol on January 6, 2021. The offense is aimed, among other things, at attempts to overthrow the US government and is rarely committed in the US Application.
Prosecutors had accused the five defendants in the trial of planning an "armed rebellion" against the US government. The three other defendants were acquitted of "seditious conspiracy" charges on Tuesday but found guilty of other offences. The sentences will be announced at a later date.
Members of the Oath Keepers, classified as anti-government and violent, along with hundreds of other radical supporters of President Donald Trump, stormed the Capitol as Democrat Joe Biden's victory in the November 2020 presidential election was to be finally confirmed.
According to the indictment, Rhodes, known for his black eye patch, and the other accused Oath Keepers had bought weapons and riot gear and stored them in a hotel near the capital. Rhodes acted "like a general on the battlefield" during the Capitol storm, prosecutor Jeffrey Nestler said during the trial.
Rhodes has denied planning an attack on the Capitol. He and his militia only wanted to ensure security at a Trump rally in Washington on the day in question. "The Oath Keepers are essentially a peacekeeping force," Rhodes' attorney Phillip Linder said at the trial.
For weeks after the presidential election, Trump had repeatedly raised allegations of voter fraud. At noon on January 6, 2021, the Republican called on his supporters to march to the Capitol and fight "whatever the hell". The ensuing attack on the Capitol, which left five dead, caused horror around the world and is considered a black day in the history of US democracy.
In the weeks and months after the Capitol storm, more than 870 attackers were arrested. Penalties have already been imposed in numerous cases, including for attacks on police officers. The trial of the Oath Keepers was the first to be charged with seditious conspiracy in connection with the attack on the Capitol.
The ex-soldier Rhodes, a law graduate of the US elite university Yale, founded the Oath Keepers in 2009. In particular, the militia recruits former or current police officers and soldiers and wants to defend itself against an alleged tyranny by the US government. As with other extremist groups, there is widespread sympathy for Trump among the Oath Keepers.