Four members of the Oath Keepers have been sentenced for their involvement in seditious conspiracy related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. Roberto Minuta, Edward Vallejo, David Moerschel, and Joseph Hackett have all received prison sentences ranging from 36 to 54 months, followed by periods of supervised release. The defendants were found guilty of several charges, including seditious conspiracy, obstruction of an official proceeding, and conspiracy to prevent Members of Congress from discharging their official duties. In the months leading up to the breach, the defendants had planned to oppose the lawful transfer of presidential power by amassing an armed “quick reaction force.” This case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, with assistance from numerous U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and law enforcement agencies across the country. The investigation into the Capitol breach continues, with over 1,000 individuals arrested thus far.
Four Oath Keepers Sentenced for Seditious Conspiracy
Roberto Minuta Sentenced to 54 Months in Prison
Roberto Minuta, a member of the Oath Keepers, has been sentenced to 54 months in prison for his involvement in seditious conspiracy and other charges related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. Minuta, who hails from Prosper, Texas, will also serve 36 months of supervised release after completing his prison term.
Edward Vallejo Sentenced to 36 Months in Prison
Another member of the Oath Keepers, Edward Vallejo, has been sentenced to 36 months in prison for his role in the seditious conspiracy. Vallejo, from Phoenix, Arizona, will also undergo 36 months of supervised release, with the initial 12 months to be served on home confinement.
David Moerschel Sentenced to 36 Months in Prison
David Moerschel, a member of the Oath Keepers from Punta Gorda, Florida, has been sentenced to 36 months in prison for his participation in the seditious conspiracy. Like his co-conspirators, Moerschel will serve an additional 36 months of supervised release.
Joseph Hackett Sentenced to 42 Months in Prison
Joseph Hackett, from Sarasota, Florida, has also received a prison sentence for his involvement in the seditious conspiracy. Hackett will serve 42 months behind bars, followed by 36 months of supervised release.
Guilty Verdicts in Seven-Week Trial
These sentencing decisions follow a seven-week trial wherein the four defendants were found guilty of seditious conspiracy, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of an official proceeding, and conspiracy to prevent Members of Congress from discharging their official duties. Hackett was also found guilty of destruction of evidence.
Charges and Sentencing
The charges against these individuals stem from their actions on January 6, 2021, when they breached the U.S. Capitol and disrupted a joint session of Congress. This session was tasked with counting and ascertaining the electoral votes related to the presidential election. As a result of their actions, these defendants were charged with seditious conspiracy and other related offenses.
In light of their crimes, the defendants have now been sentenced to prison terms ranging from 36 to 54 months, followed by periods of supervised release. These sentences reflect the seriousness of their offenses and serve as a deterrent to others who might seek to undermine the democratic process through violence and insurrection.
Planned Opposition to Presidential Transfer of Power
According to the evidence presented during the trial, the defendants and their co-conspirators engaged in a plot to oppose the lawful transfer of presidential power through the use of force. They planned to form an armed “quick reaction force” and gather on the outskirts of Washington, D.C., with the intention of disrupting the certification of the electoral college vote.
Travel Plans and Paramilitary Preparations
Starting in late December 2020, the defendants and their co-conspirators communicated through encrypted and private messaging platforms to coordinate their travel to Washington, D.C., on or around January 6, 2021. They brought with them firearms, tactical vests, helmets, and other paramilitary equipment. These preparations demonstrate their intent to employ violence during their efforts to overturn the results of the presidential election.
Methods of Conspiracy
The defendants conspired in various ways to carry out their plan. They organized into teams prepared to use force and transport firearms and ammunition into the capital. They recruited additional members and affiliates to join their conspiracy and participated in training sessions to learn paramilitary combat tactics. They brought paramilitary gear, weapons, and supplies to the Capitol grounds and attempted to breach and take control of the building on January 6, 2021.
Moreover, the defendants used force against law enforcement officers inside the Capitol and continued plotting to oppose the lawful transfer of presidential power through various means of communication, such as websites, social media, and encrypted messaging applications.
Prosecution and Investigative Efforts
This case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia along with the Justice Department’s National Security and Criminal Divisions. Multiple U.S. Attorneys’ Offices across the country assisted in the investigation and provided valuable support.
The FBI’s Washington Field Office led the investigation, with significant contributions from the Metropolitan Police Department, as well as the FBI’s New York, Dallas, Tampa, and Phoenix Field Offices. The U.S. Capitol Police and U.S. Secret Service also provided valuable assistance.
The sentencing of these four Oath Keepers for their involvement in seditious conspiracy marks a significant step towards justice in holding those responsible for the attack on the U.S. Capitol accountable. The severity of their sentences reflects the gravity of their crimes and sends a clear message that attempts to undermine the democratic process through violence will not be tolerated.
As the investigation into the events of January 6, 2021, continues, it is crucial that all individuals involved in the insurrection are identified and brought to justice. The collaborative efforts of law enforcement agencies across the country are integral in achieving this goal and ensuring the safety and security of our democracy.