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Oath Keepers founder set to be deposed by the House January 6 Committee on Wednesday

Oath Keepers leader in court on sedition charges
Oath Keepers leader in court on sedition charges 01:42

The founder and leader of the far-right militia group the Oath Keepers will appear before the House select committee investigating the January 6 Capitol attack on Wednesday, his attorneys confirmed to CBS News. 

Stewart Rhodes is scheduled to comply with a Congressional subpoena and virtually field questions posed by the Committee's investigators via Zoom from an Oklahoma Jail. 

Rhodes has been charged with seditious conspiracy and other crimes stemming from his alleged involvement in the Capitol breach and is currently being held without bail. He is expected to refuse to answer many of the questions and invoke his 5th amendment right against self-incrimination and procedural concerns so as not to interfere with his criminal trial, his legal team explains.

Prosecutors allege Rhodes and 10 co-conspirators intended to stop the presidential transfer of power by January 20, 2021, when President Biden was sworn into office.

"They coordinated travel across the country to enter Washington, D.C., equipped themselves with a variety of weapons, donned combat and tactical gear, and were prepared to answer Rhodes's call to take up arms at Rhodes's direction," according to the indictment. "Some co-conspirators also amassed firearms on the outskirts of Washington, D.C., distributed them among 'quick reaction force' teams, and planned to use the firearms in support of their plot to stop the lawful transfer of presidential power."

Oath Keepers founder, Stewart Rhodes, speaks during the Patriots Day Free Speech Rally in Berkeley
Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes speaks during a rally in Berkeley, California, on April 15, 2017. Jim Urquhart / REUTERS

After weeks of planning, mostly over messaging apps, prosecutors say the members of the Oath Keepers and its affiliates formed two "stacks" to breach the Capitol building on the day of the attack.

Meanwhile, the charging documents and subsequent filings allege a separate team of Oath Keepers remained outside Washington and was "prepared to rapidly transport firearms and other weapons into Washington, D.C., in support of the operations." Such a transport was never ordered by Rhodes or any other leaders, prosecutors said. 

"Rhodes stood at the center of the seditious conspiracy," the government alleged in court documents, "orchestrating plans to use force, recruiting and financing co-conspirators, purchasing weaponry and tactical gear, inciting support and action, and endeavoring to conceal his and other co-conspirators' crimes." 

Virginia-based attorney Jon Moseley says he will represent the Oath Keeper before the Committee during Wednesday's deposition. 

Both Moseley and Rhodes' criminal defense attorney, Philip Linder, confirm that their client will likely avoid answering questions that may interfere with his criminal trial. 

The Oath Keepers founder is currently detained in Oklahoma, likely on his way to D.C. before trial, his attorneys say. 

However, Linder and his co-counsel, James Lee Bright, both of Texas, have asked a Washington, D.C. judge to either free their client from pretrial detention or transfer him back to a Texas jail to help facilitate his preparation for July's trial.

They are requesting that the judge reconsider Texas Magistrate Judge Kimberly Priest Johnson's ruling that Rhodes be detained ahead of that trial.

"The evidence shows Defendant orchestrated a large-scale attack on the federal government with the purpose of intimidating, by violence, federal officials and disrupting official governmental proceedings incident to the transfer of power in the Executive Branch following a national election," the magistrate judge wrote. 

Rhodes and nine of his co-defendants have pleaded not guilty to charges that they planned for and participated in the January 6 Capitol attack. In all, 11 Oath Keepers have been charged with seditious conspiracy. 

The House January 6 select committee has issued dozens of subpoenas, including to Trump's allies, former White House officials, campaign aides and individuals involved in the planning of the rally outside the White House before the Capitol building came under siege. Two top Trump allies, Steve Bannon and former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, have been held in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with subpoenas, and the Justice Department has charged Bannon. Both said they are following instructions from Trump, who has claimed executive privilege.  

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi created the House select committee last year to investigate the January 6 attack, when thousands of Trump supporters descended on the Capitol as Congress counted the electoral votes, a largely ceremonial final step affirming President Biden's victory.

According to lawmakers, the panel has interviewed 400 witnesses and has obtained over 50,000 documents. 

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