A member of the right-wing militia group of the Oath-Keepers charged during the January 6 siege of the United States Capitol has pleaded guilty to willful conspiracy and obstruction of the formal process of Congress. He vowed to “cooperate fully” with the federal investigation into the attack.
Joshua James, 34, was the first member of the militia to be charged with conspiracy to plead guilty. At Wednesday’s hearing, he confirmed that under the plea agreement, he would “fully cooperate” with the government’s prosecution and testify before a grand jury and at trial.
Both conspiracy and obstruction, both felonies, carry a penalty of 20 years in prison each. The ambitious conspiracy charge is the federal government’s most serious charge yet widespread prosecution of the participants in the siege of 6 January.
James was named in a 17-count indictment that also charged the founder of Oath Keepers Stewart Rhodes. According to prosecutors, James and the other Oath-Keepers planned to carry a variety of weapons to assist the mob. Donald Trump Advocates of police brutality flood the Capitol building in an attempt to prevent Congress from certifying Joe Bidenwon the 2020 presidential election.
Prosecutors said James spent weeks planning an attack on the Capitol, coordinating when and where to make strategic moves to the building and where the weapons were stored. He and the co-defendant Roberto Minuto accused used a golf cart to evade the barriers and reach the Capitol itself.
An army of Oath-Keepers broke into the building on January 6 after taking a military-style “stack” approach to the doors. A key issue in this case is whether Rhodes dictates the maneuvering of the “stack”; Rhodes has refuse this.
Prosecutors say the group, many of them military veterans, prepared to ship weapons and firearms through the Potomac.
James’ co-defendants, including Rhodes, currently have a July trial date. A separate case against seven Oath-Keepers allegedly linked to Rhodes will go to trial no earlier than November.
News of James’ plea was unlikely to please Rhodes, who recently complained about the fact that nearly 200 on 6 January the defendant accepted an offer of guilty plea from the government.
James and Minuta has been reported as bodyguard for Roger Stone, who was found guilty of obstructing the 2016 investigation into the Trump campaign and possible ties to Russia. Trump reduced Stone’s sentence and later pardoned him. Stone, while seemingly connected to many people who is said to have stormed the Capitol on January 6, has not been charged in connection with the siege, although he has been named in the litigation taken by a group of policemen who were attacked while defending the Capitol that day.
Unlike Rhodes, James has been out on bail since last April, when Mehta identify that the government did not indicate that James planned or participated in the violence.
James was also charged with witness tampering; assault, resist or obstruct officers; civil disorder; conspiring to obstruct or injure an officer; impede the formal process of the National Assembly; and conspire to obstruct the formal process of Congress. Those charges will probably be dismissed when James is convicted.
Because James is cooperating with the government, Mehta has not set a sentencing date at this time.
[Images via FBI court filing.]
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https://lawandcrime.com/u-s-capitol-breach/oath-keepers-member-pleads-guilty-to-seditious-conspiracy-and-obstruction-in-jan-6-capitol-attack-will-fully-cooperate-with-feds/ Joshua James pleads guilty to conspiracy to seduce January 6