Four members of the Oath Keepers have been sentenced for their involvement in seditious conspiracy and other charges related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. Their actions disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress, which was in the process of counting the electoral votes for the presidential election. The defendants were found guilty of various charges, including seditious conspiracy, obstruction of an official proceeding, and conspiracy to prevent Members of Congress from discharging their official duties. This article provides details of the sentences imposed on the four defendants and highlights the evidence presented during the trial, revealing their orchestrated plot to oppose the lawful transfer of presidential power through force. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, with assistance from the FBI and other law enforcement agencies.
Sentences for Oath Keepers
Four members of the Oath Keepers have been sentenced for their involvement in seditious conspiracy and other charges related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. These individuals disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress that was in the process of ascertaining and counting the electoral votes for the presidential election. The four defendants, Roberto Minuta, Joseph Hackett, David Moerschel, and Edward Vallejo, were sentenced in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia by the Honorable Amit P. Mehta. Each defendant received a prison sentence ranging from 36 to 54 months, along with supervised release.
Roberto Minuta, 39, of Prosper, Texas, was sentenced on June 1, 2023, to 54 months in prison and 36 months of supervised release. Edward Vallejo, 64, of Phoenix, Arizona, was also sentenced on June 1, 2023, to 36 months in prison and 36 months of supervised release, with the first 12 months to be served on home confinement. David Moerschel, 45, of Punta Gorda, Florida, received a sentence of 36 months in prison and 36 months of supervised release on June 2, 2023. Joseph Hackett, 53, of Sarasota, Florida, was sentenced on June 2, 2023, to 42 months in prison and 36 months of supervised release.
The four defendants were found guilty on January 23, 2023, of multiple charges, including seditious conspiracy, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of an official proceeding, conspiracy to prevent Members of Congress from discharging their official duties, and destruction of evidence in the case of Joseph Hackett. These guilty verdicts came after a seven-week trial.
Plotting and Coordinating
According to the evidence presented in court, the defendants and their co-conspirators planned and coordinated their actions leading up to January 6, 2021. They plotted to oppose the lawful transfer of presidential power by force, including amassing an armed ‘quick reaction force’ on the outskirts of Washington, D.C. Via encrypted and private communications applications, the defendants and their co-conspirators coordinated and planned to travel to Washington, D.C., on or around January 6, 2021, the date of the certification of the electoral college vote. They intended to bring weapons to support their operation. The defendants and their co-conspirators traveled to the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area in early January 2021, equipped with paramilitary gear and supplies, including firearms, tactical vests with plates, helmets, and radio equipment.
The defendants conspired through various means, including organizing into teams prepared to use force and transport firearms into Washington, D.C., recruiting members and affiliates to participate in the conspiracy, and organizing trainings to teach and learn paramilitary combat tactics. They brought paramilitary gear and weapons, breached and attempted to take control of the Capitol grounds and building on January 6, 2021, used force against law enforcement officers inside the Capitol, and continued to plot to oppose the lawful transfer of presidential power after that date. They also utilized websites, social media, text messaging, and encrypted messaging applications to communicate with co-conspirators and others.
Prosecution and Investigation
The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, along with the Department of Justice’s National Security Division and Criminal Division. The investigation involved valuable assistance from numerous U.S. Attorney’s Offices across the country.
Scope of the Investigation
Since January 6, 2021, over 1,000 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol. Among these arrests, more than 320 individuals have been charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement. The investigation into these cases is ongoing.
For anyone with information or tips related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, they can contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or visit tips.fbi.gov to provide their information. The FBI is actively seeking any additional information that may assist with the ongoing investigation.
As the investigation continues, the prosecution and investigation teams are committed to holding accountable all individuals involved in the breach of the U.S. Capitol and ensuring that justice is served. Every effort is being made to bring closure to the events of January 6, 2021, and to prevent future acts of violence and insurrection against our democratic institutions and processes.