4 Oath Keepers Convicted of Seditious Conspiracy in Jan. 6 Insurrection

By Allan Lengel

Federal authorities continue to chalk up victories in the Jan. 6 cases.

Screenshot from ABC News video

On Monday, four members of the Oath Keepers were found guilty in U.S. District Court in D.C. of charges including seditious conspiracy, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of an official proceeding, and conspiracy to prevent members of Congress from discharging their official duties. Defendant Joseph Hackett, 52, of Sarasota, Fla., was also convicted of destruction of evidence.

The other three defendants included: Roberto Minuta, 38, of Prosper, Texas; David Moerschel, 45, of Punta Gorda, Fla.; and Edward Vallejo, 64, of Phoenix. The four were accused of being leaders or associates of the Oath Keepers, which authorities describe as a far-right, anti-government militia.

Authorities alleged during trial that in the months leading up to Jan. 6, the defendants and their co-conspirators plotted to oppose by force the lawful transfer of presidential power, including by amassing an armed “quick reaction force” on the outskirts of D.C.

According to court evidence, the defendants and their co-conspirators, through encrypted and private communications platforms, began planning in late December 2020 to disrupt the confirmation of the presidential election.

The defendants made plans to bring weapons to the D.C. area to support their operation, and in early January 2021, co-conspirators traveled to the D.C. area with paramilitary gear and supplies including firearms, tactical vests with plates, helmets and radio equipment.

The defendants conspired, according to authorities, to organize teams willing to commit violence; recruit members and affiliates to participate in the conspiracy; organize trainings to teach and learn paramilitary combat tactics; bring and contribute paramilitary gear, weapons, and supplies – including knives, camouflaged combat uniforms, tactical vests with plates, helmets, eye protection and radio equipment.

“Today’s verdict is an important step in our continued efforts to hold criminally accountable those involved in the breach of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a statement. “We will continue to investigate those who sought to undermine the workings of American democracy and we will work closely with federal prosecutors to ensure justice is served.”

Since Jan. 6, 2021, more than 950 people have been arrested in nearly 50 states for crimes related to the breach of the U.S. Capitol, including more than 284 for assaulting or impeding law enforcement. 

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