DOJ cites threats to democracy on Jan. 6 in push for steep Oath Keepers sentences

By | May 6, 2023

Politico reports:

Prosecutors are seeking the most severe sentence yet in connection with the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol — a 25-year prison term — for the founder and leader of the far-right Oath Keepers militia, characterizing it as a necessary punishment to deter future attacks against democracy.

The Justice Department says Stewart Rhodes and his allies were among the most significant drivers of the violence that unfolded at the Capitol, amassing a stockpile of weapons nearby in Virginia and dressing in military-style gear in a way that exacerbated the sense among the Jan. 6 mob that a revolution was underway.

In seeking the stiff sentence for Rhodes — on a rare seditious conspiracy conviction — prosecutors said that lengthy sentences are necessary for the survival of American democracy.

“As this Court is well aware, the justice system’s reaction to January 6 bears the weighty responsibility of impacting whether January 6 becomes an outlier or a watershed moment,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Nestler wrote in the 183-page sentencing memo. “Left unchecked, this impulse threatens our democracy.”

Prosecutors cited polling from earlier this year showing that one in five Americans believe political violence is sometimes justified and that one in 10 “believes it would be justified if it meant the return of President Trump.” [Continue reading…]