The trial of five members of the Oath Keepers militia charged with seditious conspiracy for conspiring to storm the Capitol on Jan 6 has begun.
In an opening statement of more than an hour on Monday, the prosecution told jurors about the manner in which five members of the far-right military allegedly “concocted a plan for armed rebellion to shatter a bedrock of American democracy.”
“They said out loud and in writing what they planned to do,” Assistant US Attorney Jeffrey Nestler said. “When the opportunity finally presented itself … they sprang into action.”
The five defendants have all pleaded not guilty to seditious conspiracy and other federal charges.
The DOJ accused the five men of “concoct[ing] a plan for an armed rebellion” by stopping “by any means necessary” the transfer of power from Trump to Biden, which allegedly included “taking up arms against the United States government.”
The DOJ’s opening statement also detailed evidence that allegedly showed the defendants communicated about plotting to disrupt the Congressional certification of President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory, CNN reported.
The prosecution played for the jury video displaying the defendants’ behaviour in the Capitol alongside maps and charts that gave a play-by-play of what was occurring onscreen.
Each juror was given their own screen to follow along.
But defendant Stewart Rhodes’s lawyer Phillip Linder insisted that the accused members of the anti-government militia “had no part in the bulk” of the rioting that occurred on January 6.
“You may not like what you see and hear our defendants did, but the evidence will show that they didn’t do anything illegal that day,” Linder said.