Surveillance footage shows David Moerschel (red arrow) walking towards the eastern facade of the Capitol at 2:27 pm on January 6.
Department of Justice
The DOJ’s Capitol riot probe took a big step forward when 11 people were charged with seditious conspiracy.
One legal expert said the charge represents “the closest crime we have to treason.”
There are few historical examples of seditious conspiracy convictions, and the DOJ has an uphill battle.
The Justice Department on Thursday silenced critics who accused it of being too lenient in the Capitol riot investigation when it charged the leader of the far-right extremist group Oath Keepers and ten others with seditious conspiracy.
It’s the most significant charge yet in the department’s sprawling investigation into the deadly Capitol siege on January 6, 2021 that resulted in the deaths of at least seven people.
The 48-page indictment alleges that the defendants planned the Capitol siege in advance and accuses them of attempting to use force to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power. In bringing seditious conspiracy charges, experts said, the Justice Department confirmed that it sees at least some elements of the Capitol riot as a coup attempt.
The federal seditious conspiracy statute makes it a crime for two or more people to conspire to overthrow, put down, or destroy by force the United States government. It’s also a crime to use force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States.
Barbara McQuade, the former US attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, told Insider that it’s a “very serious charge and is rarely used.”
In charging Oath Keepers leader Elmer Stewart Rhodes and ten others with seditious conspiracy, the Justice Department is acknowledging that the January 6 riot “was a threat to our democracy, not a simple protest that got out …read more