The second trial of the Oath Keepers seditious conspiracy begins

LR: Edward Vallejo is in one "selfie"style image he is wearing a blue shirt and a blue baseball cap. David Moerschel wears black gear including a helmet and mask, and a sweatshirt with the yellow one "Oath Keeper" Logo. Joseph Hackett wears black clothes and a black shirt with a yellow one "Oath Keeper" logo on it. Roberto Minuta wears goggles and military gear January 6 at the Capitol. He has a beard and his mouth is open as if screaming.

LR: Edward Vallejo, David Moerschel, Joseph Hackett, Roberto Minuta. All four men are charged with seditious conspiracy. (Images via court filings.)

The second installment of Oath Keepers members are accused of plotting to block the transfer of Presidential power donald trump to Joe Biden runs in Washington on January 6th.

Jury selection in the federal government’s proceedings against it David Moerschel, Ed Vallejo, Joseph Hackettand Roberto Minuta kicked away Tuesday morning. The trial comes just a week after the first trial of the right-wing paramilitary group’s top leader, which ended in multiple convictions across the board: the founder of Oath Keepers Steward Rhodes and chapter leaders of Florida Kelly Meggs were convicted of seditious conspiracy. While three other co-defendants – Jessica Watkins, Kenneth Harrelsonand Thomas Calwell – were acquitted of those charges, all defendants in the first trial were convicted of obstructing an official session of Congress.

Moerschel, Vallejo, Hackett and Minuta are all charged with seditious conspiracy, conspiracy to obstruct an official session of Congress, obstruction of an official session of Congress, conspiracy to prevent an official from performing his or her duties and tampering with evidence.

Both the obstruction and seditious conspiracy charges carry a possible 20-year prison sentence.

Moerschel and Hackett are accused of joining Meggs, Harrelson and Watkins in the first group of Oath Keepers members who approached the Capitol in a military-style “stack” formation.

Vallejo, who is not a member of the Oath Keepers, is accused of playing a key role in organizing the so-called Quick Reaction Force. The QRF, as it was known, hid a cache of weapons at a Comfort Inn in Arlington, Virginia, evidence from the first trial showed. According to prosecutors, Rhodes and his co-defendants intended to take the guns across the Potomac River to the Capitol to aid rioters’ efforts to block Biden’s certification.

Minuta allegedly joined the co-defendants JoshuaJames and brian ulrich in the second “pile” that approached and broke through the Capitol. This came after Minuta and James allegedly drove to the Capitol in a golf cart upon hearing that the building had been breached. They allegedly provided a “security detail” for Trump’s allies and pardon recipients Roger Stonewho has not been charged in connection with the January 6 events.

Defense attorneys have emphasized the Oath Keepers’ alleged “security” role in the first trial, although prosecutors have repeatedly attempted to challenge the validity of these claims.

A total of eleven co-defendants were charged in the seditious conspiracy case. Two of them – James and brian ulrich – have pleaded guilty to these charges and are cooperating with the government investigation.

Jury selection in the first case took three full days and met significant opposition from defense attorneys who insisted their clients could not receive a fair trial from the DC jury. However, in the days leading up to this second trial, the case list was relatively quiet, although it’s possible that defense attorneys could try to move the case after the jury has been selected.

All four defendants in the current trial are on parole, suggesting that US District Judges Amit Metha does not consider them a flight risk or an imminent threat to their communities.

The process is expected to take five to seven weeks.

[Images via court filings.]

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