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Arizona man, others indicted in federal court in connection to January 6 Capitol riots

Capitol riots
Posted at 2:07 PM, Jan 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-13 16:07:49-05

WASHINGTON, D.C. — An Arizona man has been indicted by a federal grand jury in the District of Columbia charging him with seditious conspiracy and other charges for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

The events disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress that was in the process of ascertaining and counting the electoral votes related to the presidential election.

Edward Vallejo, 63, of Phoenix, along with 10 others, including Elmer Stewart Rhodes III, of Grandbury, Texas, who is the founder and leader of the Oath Keepers, were also charged.

Stewart Rhodes

They are being charged for the first time in connection with events leading up to and including Jan. 6.

Vallejo was arrested this morning in Phoenix, while Rhodes was arrested this morning in Texas.

In a press release, the Department of Justice accused Rhodes and his followers of opposing "by force the execution of the laws governing the transfer of presidential power."

Rhodes, 56, is among the highest-profile people yet to be charged in connection with the riots. According to The Washington Post and CNBC, Rhodes was in Washington on the day of the riots but did not enter the Capitol.

The DOJ alleges that Rhodes and the Oath Keepers used a "variety of manners and means" — including using "paramilitary combat tactics" and tactile gear to "breach and attempt to take control of the Capitol grounds...in an effort to prevent, hinder and delay the certification of the electoral college vote."

Capitol riot
FILE - In this Jan. 6, 2021, file photo, police stand guard after holding off violent rioters who tried to break through a police barrier at the Capitol in Washington. New details from the deadly riot of Jan. 6 are contained in a previously undisclosed document prepared by the Pentagon for internal use that was obtained by the Associated Press and vetted by current and former government officials. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)

The other alleged Oath Keepers members charged with seditious conspiracy are Thomas Caldwell, 67, of Berryville, Virginia; Joseph Hackett, 51, of Sarasota, Florida; Kenneth Harrelson, 41, of Titusville, Florida; Joshua James, 34, of Arab, Alabama; Kelly Meggs, 52, of Dunnellon, Florida; Roberto Minuta, 37, of Prosper, Texas; David Moerschel, 44, of Punta Gorda, Florida; Brian Ulrich, 44, of Guyton, Georgia and Jessica Watkins, 39, of Woodstock, Ohio.

The U.S. Code defines seditious conspiracy as when "conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States." The crime is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.