1st Jan. 6 sedition sentences land 2 Oath Keepers in prison for 18 and 12 years

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U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta sentenced Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes to 18 year in prison on Thursday for his role in planning and leading the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. The sentence, the longest yet for a Jan. 6 defendant, was the first handed down among the handful of rioters convicted of seditious conspiracy, and the first augmented with a "terrorism" enhancement. Mehta told Rhodes he presents "an ongoing threat and a peril to this country, to the republic and the very fabric of our democracy."

Later Thursday, Mehta sentenced Oath Keepers Florida chapter leader Kelly Meggs to 12 years in prison. Meggs, a top Rhodes lieutenant, was also convicted of seditious conspiracy in November. Mehta is expected over the next nine days to sentence the other four Oath Keepers and members of the far-right Proud Boys found guilty of sedition. The sentences for Rhodes and Meggs suggest they will also get lengthy prison terms.

Meggs, unlike Rhodes, said in court he was "sorry to be involved with an event that put such a black eye on our country." Rhodes called himself a "political prisoner" whose "only crime is opposing those who are destroying our country." "You are not a political prisoner, Mr. Rhodes," Mehta said, adding later, "The moment you are released, you will be prepared to take up arms against your government." Rhodes said he will appeal the sentence. Legal analysts suggested his legal strategy was to seek a pardon from the next Republican president.

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