Founder of far-right Oath Keepers militia group, 10 others charged with seditious conspiracy

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FILE – Stewart Rhodes, founder and president of the pro gun rights organization Oath Keepers speaks during a gun rights rally at the Connecticut State Capitol in Hartford, Conn., Saturday April 20, 2013. Rhodes has been arrested and charged with seditious conspiracy in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. The Justice Department announced the charges against Rhodes on Thursday. (AP Photo/Journal Inquirer, Jared Ramsdell, File) MANDATORY CREDIT

WASHINGTON (AP) — Stewart Rhodes, the founder and leader of the far-right Oath Keepers militia group, has been arrested and charged with seditious conspiracy in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, authorities said Thursday.

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.

Rhodes is charged along with more than a dozen other members and associates of the Oath Keepers, who authorities say came to Washington intent on stopping the certification of President Joe Biden’s victory.

FILE – In this Sunday, June 25, 2017 file photo, Stewart Rhodes, founder of the citizen militia group known as the Oath Keepers speaks during a rally outside the White House in Washington. Rhodes has been arrested and charged with seditious conspiracy in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. The Justice Department announced the charges against Rhodes on Thursday. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

Rhodes did not enter the Capitol building on Jan. 6 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 Jan. 6, when thousands of pro-Trump rioters stormed past police barriers and smashed windows, injuring dozens of officers and sending lawmakers running.

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