Oath Keepers founder admits rallying a militia, argues again for release

The North Texas Leader of a far right anti-government militia once again tried to get out of federal custody while he awaits his trial on seditious conspiracy for the Capitol riot.

His lawyers argued he's not a flight risk and suggested he stay on a property in California with family members.

Last month, a U.S. magistrate decided to keep Stewart Rhodes of Granbury in federal custody until his trial. 

Part of that decision was based on his estranged wife’s testimony where she said he’d been planning another attack, was abusive toward his family, tried to booby trap his property and created methods to escape authorities. 

Now, Rhodes’ attorneys are trying again for bond, and it hasn’t been ruled out.

Oath Keepers claim to "defend the constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic." However, the feds say their leader, Rhodes, mobilized and equipped hundreds of rioters at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

A federal judge in the District of Columbia is now debating whether to release Rhodes from custody while he awaits trial.

James Lee Bright is Rhodes’ attorney. He spoke with FOX 4 following a federal hearing Wednesday. 

"I don’t think that he’s a risk if he’s released, especially under the conditions that Judge Mehta is going to impose," he said.

Bright wants the judge to grant Rhodes house arrest at his cousin’s home in California with a number of restrictions, including no access to internet. They believe he’s not a danger or flight risk. 

"He is on a list for flying where he gets interviewed by DHS before he can even get a ticket. It’s been that way for a while. The government is aware of it," Lee said.

They say Rhodes wants to go to trial and testify.

"He said there’s just no way wild horses will even keep him off the stand," Lee said.

Federal prosecutors are trying to make a case that he’s a danger to the community. They say Rhodes previously said he was "prepared to do battle…to stop the transfer of power" at the Capitol.

The government says, if released, he could communicate with dangerous people. The feds already seized a storage unit full of his weapons. They’re unclear if Rhodes has more weapons. 

Prosecutors say prior to Jan. 6, Rhodes communicated in a chat room about a need to go into the Capitol.

"The defendant says words to the effect of, ‘I think Congress will screw him,’ meaning President Trump over. ‘The only chance he has is if we scare the s*** out of them and convince them it will be torches and pitchfork time if they don’t do the right thing. But I don’t think they will listen,’" the prosecution said.

In a memo sent to the court before the hearing, Rhodes’ attorneys admit he rallied a militia to go to D.C. but said he did not order them to storm the Capitol. 

They also argued Rhodes is not a flight risk because the FBI knew of his involvement months before his arrest and even interviewing him. It argued he doesn’t have a passport, and that he’s too recognizable now because of media coverage.

Rhodes’ attorneys say their client is "meticulous about following the law" and was doing so on Jan. 6.

FOX 4 asked Rhodes’ attorneys if he had any regrets from that day.

"He believes he didn’t do anything wrong that day," his attorney said. "There are things that will come out as we go further, but we’re not ready to comment on that at this time."

The federal judge says they’ll reconvene on Friday at noon to make a decision.

The probation office is interviewing and looking into the background of Rhodes’ family members who he would be staying with. 

The trial is expected to begin on July 11.


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