Stewart Rhodes, the founder and leader of the Oath Keepers militia group, has been arrested and charged with seditious conspiracy in the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, authorities say.
Mr Rhodes is the highest-ranking member of an extremist group to be arrested in the deadly siege and it is the first time the Justice Department has brought a seditious conspiracy charge in connection with the attack on the Capitol.
Mr Rhodes is charged along with more than a dozen other members and associates of the Oath Keepers, who authorities say came to Washington DC intent on stopping the certification of US President Joe Biden’s victory.
Mr Rhodes did not enter the Capitol building on January 6, 2021, but is accused of helping put into motion the violence that disrupted the certification of the vote.
The Oath Keepers case is the largest conspiracy case federal authorities have brought so far over the scenes in Washington last year, when thousands of rioters supportive of then-president Donald Trump stormed past police barriers and smashed windows, injuring dozens of officers and sending lawmakers running.
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