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Oath Keepers Founder Elmer Stewart Rhodes Detained In Federal Custody Following Seditious Conspiracy Arrest; Pleads 'Not Guilty'

PLANO, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) - Elmer Stewart Rhodes, founder and leader of the right-wing militia group Oath Keepers, remained in federal custody Friday after he entered a not guilty plea to a charge of seditious conspiracy and other counts in connection with the January 6 attack at the U.S. Capitol last year.

Federal prosecutors asked Magistrate Judge Kimberly Priest Johnson to detain Rhodes, who then set a detention hearing at the federal courthouse in Plano Thursday morning.

At the hearing, the judge will consider the evidence before deciding whether to release Rhodes.

The FBI arrested Rhodes at a house in Little Elm Thursday, Jan. 13 and brought him to the Collin County Jail.

The U.S. Justice Department says Rhodes is one of 11 people charged with seditious conspiracy specifically trying to prevent and obstruct a joint session of Congress from certifying the November 2020 election on January 6 and then keeping Joe Biden from assuming the Presidency from Donald Trump on January 20th.

Prosecutors say as leader and founder of Oath Keepers, Rhodes started sending encrypted messages to others in the group November 5th, two days after the Presidential election.

According to the indictment, on December 11, Rhodes said that if President-elect Biden were to become President, "It will be a bloody and desperate fight. We are going to have a fight that can't be avoided."

Rhodes' civil attorney said Thursday that his client did not enter the U.S. Capitol on January 6, but federal prosecutors say he entered the restricted grounds of the Capitol that day and directed others from there.

The indictment says at 1:30 p.m. that day, Rhodes expressed frustration in a message to his group: "Pence is doing nothing as I predicted. All I see Trump doing is complaining. I see no intent by him to do anything. So the patriots are taking it into their hands. They've had enough."

Prosecutors say those charged were also "...prepared to rapidly transport firearms and other weapons into Washington, D.C. in support of operations aimed at using force to stop the lawful transfer of Presidential power."

After the Friday court hearing in Plano, Rhodes' supporters spoke to reporters.

Andie Gonzales said, "He's a patriot meaning that he stands for the Constitution, and he wants everybody to uphold their oath which they took. We need to do a lot of healing in this country instead of divide."

Another friend of Rhodes, who would only give his first name Brian said, "I've known the man for a couple of years now and can speak to him. He's a solid character, he's a Christian, and he loves his country. We all do."

Kellye SoRelle, who said she's temporarily acting President of Oath Keepers, said, "He is not guilty of any of the outlandish charges and the organization stands with Mr. Rhodes."

One of his Rhodes' attorneys, James Lee Bright said, "He intends to fight the charges until the very, very end."

Bright and another attorney for Rhodes, Phillip Lender said that Rhodes is not a danger to the community, has no criminal history, has no passport and is not a flight risk.

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