Common Sense for the 21st Century

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Oath Keepers Founder, Stewart Rhodes, Responds to Enrique Tarrio’s Claim of Government Coercion

By Guest Writer, Stewart Rhodes, with Mel Hawley

Exactly as I suspected. They wanted Tarrio to do exactly what Oath Keeper, Josh James, did: plead guilty to the worst charge of all, seditious conspiracy, and then sign off on fabricated statement of facts.

That’s what Josh James did by signing an absurd statement of facts saying that I, Stewart Rhodes, planned starting in November 2020, to attack the capitol on J6. And yes, they most certainly typed that up for Josh James, and would have done so with Tarrio.

The Prosecutors sent all of us Oath Keepers defendants a letter stating that the DOJ was going to seek life in prison for all of us, and we had two weeks to negotiate a plea deal. I just laughed and tossed mine in the toilet. Josh James, obviously, let that threat scare him enough to dishonor himself and commit the sin of bearing false witness by signing a false statement and agreeing to testify.

However, he never did testify at our trial.

I think the prosecutors were worried that he would have a pang of conscience on the stand and admit that it was all a lie, and that I DID NOT plan any attack or order anyone to go inside.

As a small aside, Kelly Meggs told me during our trial that the DOJ offered him a plea deal where they said he could go home, with time served, if he would agree to testify against me, agreeing to lie and say that I planned to attack the capitol and told him to lead his team inside. To his credit, Meggs refused. He had enough honor to say no.

My attorneys told me the usual practice is for the FBI to serve as go-between, sending agents to talk to defendants and their lawyers and to propose/negotiate statements of facts. This gives the prosecutors a bit of separation between themselves and the defendants, with the FBI working as the message boys to let the accused know what the DOJ wants them to agree to say.

Now, I’m not sure that’s how they always do it. I think the offer to Meggs came from the prosecutors to Megg’s attorneys. So, it is possible that the DOJ prosecutors communicated directly with defense counsel and Tarrio. I’d be curious about how that was done.

Who exactly proposed the statement of facts that they wanted Tarrio to sign? FBI, or the prosecutors?

But, yes, however they did it, they gave Tarrio a cooked up pile of crap to sign, to create a non-existent conspiracy, headed by Trump, to attack the Capitol, with Trump giving Tarrio orders to lead the Proud Boys inside.

And no doubt, if I had expressed any willingness to discuss a plea deal, that is exactly what they would have offered me as well: plead guilty to the worst charge of all, seditious conspiracy, and sign a false statement of facts saying that Trump ordered me to send Oath Keepers teams into the Capitol to “spearhead the attack” and stop the electoral vote count, and if I did that, I would do far, far less time than if I went to trial.

But I made it absolutely clear, from the outset, that as a matter of honor I would NEVER plead guilty to something I did not do, and I would never commit the sin of bearing false witness against anyone, no matter how many years I was threatened with, and even though I knew that any trial in DC would be a Stalinistic show trial, with a hopelessly biased, political, DC jury guaranteed to find me “guilty” of something, despite my absolute innocence.

My honor means more to me than anything, including my life, as I made clear repeatedly in public statements and interviews after my arrest.

I went to trial, and I looked the jury in the eyes and spoke the truth, both about how the 2020 election was unconstitutional and illegal, and the truth that we Oath Keepers were in DC only to do security missions for two permitted events on Capitol grounds, and any Oath Keepers who entered the Capitol did so entirely on their own, without any plan to do so, simply being caught up in the crowd, just like over a thousand other people.

And that was the truth. I didn’t blame Trump. I didn’t disavow my political opinion that the election was stolen, illegal, unconstitutional. I stuck to my guns, as a matter of principle and honor.

And I did what I could to help my co-defendants, making it clear I did not believe they were part of any plan either, and I didn’t believe they committed any crimes by simply walking through doors opened by others, and then doing what they could to help police once inside.

So, the DOJ sent no such direct offer to my lawyers – just the same letter they sent all of us, threatening life in prison, and saying we had two weeks to discuss plea deals. But if they had, it would have been similar to what they offered Tarrio, to further the big lie that Trump used both Oath Keepers and Proud Boys as his “shock troops” on J6.

And that is totally no surprise to me at all, since that has been THE narrative since February 2021. Congressman Bennie Thompson and other House Democrats filed a civil lawsuit on February 16, 2021, against Trump, Giuiliani, Proud Boys, and Oath Keepers, alleging a conspiracy to attack the Capitol, stop the certification and thereby disenfranchise black voters, in violation of the KKK Act. That shows their predetermined agenda/narrative long before any possible investigation could have been done. That was the conclusion they wanted, and all of the prosecutions since have been carried out to make that false narrative goal “true.”

They DID coerce some defendants into agreeing with that big lie, or parts of it, and we now have confirmation from Tarrio that the ultimate goal was always, indeed, to create a false narrative that Trump was THE ultimate mastermind.

Just to be clear, several other Oath Keepers also pled guilty to seditious conspiracy, including Jason Dolan (USMC combat vet) and Todd Wilson (Army combat vet).

Todd Wilson signed a false statement of facts very similar to what Josh James signed – stating, falsely, that I, Rhodes, planned from November (while we were staying at Caldwell’s farm, when we were doing the security op for the first DC stop the steal rally) to “attack the capitol on January 6”). A total lie. We weren’t even thinking of Jan 6 way back in early November. We were focused on that rally in DC, in November, and also on a legit Antifa threat to the White House (Antifa accounts threatened to assault the White House and drag Trump out if he did not concede the election). That’s ALL we were thinking of in November, with my open letters focused on what Trump could do to expose the fraud.

Todd Wilson’s false statement of facts also alleged that on the night of the 6th, after we left the capitol grounds and went to the Phoenix hotel, to Latinos for Trump leader Bianca Gracia’s suite, that Wilson heard me make a phone call to someone in the Secret Service, who was in the White House. Also total crap – never happened. But that’s what he signed. Clearly the prosecutors were trying to line up a fake, made up connection between me and President Trump, as well as create the false narrative of a plan to attack the capitol.

Todd Wilson Statement of Offense

But once Dolan took the stand and testified truthfully and honorably, the prosecutors did not call Josh James or Todd Wilson to testify againt me. Clearly they were worried those two would do as Dolan did – tell the truth.

Dolan testified that he knew of no plan by me, and that I issued no orders to anyone to go inside, and in fact, Dolan testified when they exited the capitol and walked up to me and told me they had gone inside, I had said “that was stupid!” which really undercut the whole false narrative that I was some sort of mastermind behind the attack on the Capitol.

So, they feared that Wilson and James would do the same, and never used them in my trial. And with a politically biased DC jury already hating me for just being a Trump supporter and the founder of Oath Keepers, all they needed to do is show the jury my political speech and allege that my free speech was in support of a vague conspiracy to resist the US government with force.

But the way they manipulated and coerced multiple Oath Keepers into blatant lies in their plea agreements, and also either did so with Proud Boys or attempted to do so (I don’t know the details on how many took such a plea) demonstrates the agenda: manufacture fake evidence of pretend offenses, to create a false reality – a planned attack by Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, with Trump as our leader. That was the agenda.

And that is still the agenda.

You can bet they are still at it, and will find someone to agree to such a pile of crap statement of facts (if they haven’t already gotten someone to sign it). They use coercion and threats of many decades or life in prison to force people to sign that kind of crap.

So someone already has, or will. You watch. It’s coming.

And no doubt all future defendants will be on notice of the long sentences given to me, Tarrio, Nordean, Biggs, etc. to scare them into agreeing to “testi-lie.” So I am sure someone will do it.

I fully expect to see a superseding indictment, adding on the charge of seditious conspiracy against Trump and a few others.


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