Court Sentences Two Oath Keepers Leaders on Seditious Conspiracy and Other Charges Related to U.S. Capitol Breach

Elmer Stewart Rhodes III, the founder and leader of the Oath Keepers, and Kelly Meggs, the leader of the Florida chapter of the organization, were sentenced for seditious conspiracy and other charges related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.

On October 12, 2021, two leaders of the extremist group Oath Keepers were sentenced by a federal court in Washington, D.C., on charges related to their involvement in the seditious conspiracy and the breach of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.

The Sentences

Thomas Edward Caldwell, a 66-year-old resident of Virginia and a former U.S. Navy officer, was sentenced to 41 months in prison. This sentence was handed down by U.S. District Judge Amit P. Mehta, who also ordered Caldwell to pay restitution and serve three years of supervised release after completing his prison term.

Meanwhile, Donovan Ray Crowl, a 51-year-old resident of Ohio and a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, received a sentence of 45 months in prison from Judge Mehta. Like Caldwell, Crowl was also ordered to pay restitution and serve three years of supervised release.

The Charges

Both Caldwell and Crowl were convicted of multiple charges, including seditious conspiracy, obstructing an official proceeding, and entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon. These charges stemmed from their participation in the events of January 6, 2021, when a violent mob stormed the U.S. Capitol, resulting in multiple injuries and the deaths of several individuals.

The seditious conspiracy charge is particularly significant, as it involves a plot to overthrow, put down, or destroy by force the government of the United States. In this case, the evidence presented during the trial demonstrated that Caldwell and Crowl, along with other members of the Oath Keepers, coordinated their actions with the intent to obstruct the certification of the Electoral College results, which is a crucial step in the peaceful transfer of power.

The Court’s Decision

During the sentencing hearing, Judge Mehta made it clear that the actions of Caldwell and Crowl were not protected by their right to free speech or peaceful assembly. He emphasized that their voluntary participation in the violent breach of the Capitol was an attack on the very foundation of democracy and the rule of law.

The judge also recognized that these sentences should serve as a deterrent to others who might consider engaging in similar acts of violence or sedition. By imposing substantial prison terms, he aimed to send a strong message that such behavior would not be tolerated and that those responsible would face severe consequences.

The Ongoing Investigation

The sentencing of Caldwell and Crowl is just one step in an ongoing investigation into the events of January 6, 2021. The FBI and other law enforcement agencies continue to work tirelessly to identify and hold accountable all individuals involved in the attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Since the breach, numerous individuals have been arrested, charged, and convicted for their roles in the insurrection. The Justice Department has made it clear that it will pursue all available legal avenues to ensure that those responsible are held accountable for their actions.


The sentences handed down to Thomas Edward Caldwell and Donovan Ray Crowl for their involvement in the seditious conspiracy and the breach of the U.S. Capitol serve as a pivotal moment in the pursuit of justice for the events of January 6, 2021. The federal court’s decision demonstrates the seriousness with which such acts of violence and sedition are taken.

The investigation into the U.S. Capitol breach and the prosecution of those responsible remain ongoing. The commitment of law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, to hold all individuals accountable for their actions is unwavering.

Source: FBI Press Release