As DOJ prosecutor Jeffrey Nestler depicted Oathkeepers founder Stewart Rhodes “like a general looking over the battlefield, surveying and communicating while his troops stormed inside,” evidence revealed a different picture.
Was there a concrete, centralized plot to overthrow the government, or were the Oathkeepers decentralized and peaceful? Is the government insinuating communication occurred when it didn’t?
In the trial of Stewart Rhodes, Kelly Meggs, Kenneth Harrelson, Jessica Watkins, and Thomas Caldwell, the government alleges Rhodes circulated “leadership” threads on Signal. But there is no way to tell whether defendants saw chats or meeting invites due to the application’s encrypted technology.
In an attempt to play to the jury’s fears, prosecutors stated 103 people were invited to a Nov. 2020 GotoMeeting which allegedly planned the events of Jan. 6. Yet not all of 103 people attended.
Is the government lumping defendants in an online list together and creating guilt by association?
Harrelson’s attorney testified he was not in this meeting. Jessica Watkins was leading a group similar to Oathkeepers in OH and had a six-day training slated at the same time as Jan. 6. Rhodes had no involvement in this training.
In a pre-trial writing to suppress the GotoMeeting as part of the government’s allegations, Rhodes’ defense stated the group made “embellished statements with each other predicting others might engage in violence-but not themselves specially.”
Testimony demonstrated the majority of the meeting did not reference the events of Jan. 6. The group discussed an upcoming rally on Dec. 12th as well as the existing procedure of a QRF area with weapons and supplies outside of the city to counter Antifa.
“The government just puts this narrative out there,” said one courtroom observer.
“It sounds bizarre or scary for someone without a military background. When the prosecution is creating the perception that people are holding up weapons at a hotel, they are not looking at it from a tactical perspective.”
Tuesday morning’s trial is expected to begin with a discussion on the release of notes from disbarred attorney Jonathan Mosely. Mosely believes his information -which includes recent defendant Michael Greene’s interview with the FBI-may potentially exonerate those within the Oathkeepers.
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