A National Guard Troop Patrols the U.S. Capitol complex
A National Guard Troop Patrols the U.S. Capitol complexiStock

The founder of far-right group Oath Keepers, Stewart Rhodes, was sentenced on Thursday to 18 years in prison for hatching a plot that ended in his followers storming the US Capitol on January 6, 2020 in an effort to prevent President Joe Biden from assuming the presidency.

Rhodes, the first Jan. 6 defendant to be sentenced for seditious conspiracy, was also handed the longest sentence of the hundreds of Jan. 6 suspects to appear in court, the Associated Press reported.

To date, the US Justice Department’s lengthy Jan. 6 investigation has led to seditious conspiracy convictions against top leaders of two far-right extremist groups whose followers traveled to Washington, D.C. with plants to use force to keep President Donald Trump in office despite his election loss.

The judge told Rhodes that he is an ever-present threat to American democracy, describing that the defendant “wants democracy in this country to devolve into violence.”

“The moment you are released, whenever that may be, you will be ready to take up arms against your government,” US District Judge Amit Mehta said.

Prosecutors had argued that the rioting by Oath Keepers members was not a spontaneous action but the result of weeks of planning to attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

They had asked the court for a 25-year sentence for Rhodes, describing him as the chief strategist of a plan to stop the peaceful transfer of presidential power to Joe Biden.

(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shavuot in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)