Oath Keeper charged with U.S. Capitol riot sedition seeks release from jail

by Reuters
Thursday, 20 January 2022 22:36 GMT

(Adds details from court hearing)

By Jan Wolfe

WASHINGTON, Jan 20 (Reuters) - A member of the far-right Oath Keepers group charged with seditious conspiracy https://www.reuters.com/world/us/fbi-arrests-far-right-militia-group-oath-keepers-leader-jan-6-probe-nyt-2022-01-13 over allegations he helped plan the deadly Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol asked a judge on Thursday to release him while he awaits trial.

Edward Vallejo is one of 11 people prosecutors have linked to the Oath Keepers and accused of seditious conspiracy, a relatively rare charge. https://www.reuters.com/world/us/us-built-textbook-case-sedition-charges-capitol-attack-legal-experts-2022-01-14 Vallejo is appearing before an Arizona judge who has not yet made a ruling.

Vallejo's lawyer, Debbi Jang, said there is no risk of her client fleeing the country while he awaits trial. GPS monitoring and other measures can ensure he appears for court dates, Jang said.

A prosecutor countered that Vallejo is dangerous and that pretrial detention was necessary.

"We believe that he is a danger and we can't take the risk of allowing him to remain in the community given his words and actions," the government lawyer said.

In a Jan. 18 court filing, the Justice Department said Vallejo was a co-conspirator in a plot orchestrated by Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes to attack Congress and forcefully oppose the transfer of power between then-President Donald Trump, a Republican, to his successor, Biden, a Democrat. The riot was fueled by Trump's false claims that his November 2020 election defeat was the result of fraud.

"Vallejo played a central role in the planned use of force in this plot, agreeing and preparing to usher firearms and other related equipment into Washington, D.C., to his co-conspirators," the Justice Department said in the court filing.

Prosecutors said that Vallejo "also poses a risk of obstruction of justice should he be released."

Jang said at a brief court hearing last week that he would plead not guilty to all charges.

An indictment released on Jan. 13 against the 11 was the first time suspected participants in the attack were charged with seditious conspiracy, which is defined as attempting "to overthrow, put down or to destroy by force the government of the United States." (Reporting by Jan Wolfe; additional reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Scott Malone and Grant McCool)

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