Jan6: The American Gulag

grarpamp grarpamp at gmail.com
Thu May 12 15:10:38 PDT 2022

Jan. 6 Prosecutors Threatened Oath Keepers With Life Sentences, Raised
Treason Analogy


Members of the Oath Keepers charged with seditious conspiracy were
told they could face life in prison, according to a letter discussing
plea deal negotiations obtained by The Epoch Times.
Police and protesters outside the U.S. Capitol's Rotunda in Washington
on Jan. 6, 2021. (Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images)

Nine members charged with conspiracy were told that a lack of
recommended sentencing for the charge means the court would apply the
sentencing guidelines for the most analogous charge.

“The United States takes the position that the most analogous offense
to seditious conspiracy is ‘treason,'” prosecutors said.

Treason carries a potential death penalty, though prosecutors
indicated the defendants would face a life sentence if they did not
plead guilty.

That’s despite the seditious conspiracy charge itself only carrying a
maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

The threat was contained in a letter that said the government would
stop negotiating plea deals on May 6.

None of those nine Oath Keepers pleaded guilty before the deadline.

The attempted link to treason “is absurd,” Alan Dershowitz, a
professor of law emeritus at Harvard Law School, and who is
representing a Jan. 6 defendant who is not an Oath Keeper, told The
Epoch Times in an email.

A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of
Columbia declined to comment.

The government could have trouble with its position, since it noted in
a recent filing that the late Sen. Lyman Trumball, the sponsor of the
bill that first made seditious conspiracy a crime in 1861, said the
bill’s purpose was to “to punish persons who conspire together to
commit offenses against the United States not analogous to treason.”

“The Conspiracies Act provided a middle option to address serious
criminal conduct that did not rise to the level of a capital offense,
including conspiracies to commit acts of treason, insurrection, or
obstruction of government functions that failed to achieve their
purpose,” prosecutors added in their brief.

Ben Glassman, a former U.S. attorney in Ohio, told The Wall Street
Journal—which first reported on the letter—that the government “has an
obligation to set out that kind of worst-case scenario for a defendant
because … it is important for a defendant to understand the possible
risks of going to trial.”

Jonathon Moseley, who has been representing one of the Oath Keepers
Kelly Meggs, but is on caretaker status due to his recent disbarment
until his client secures new counsel, said that the letter was part of
a series of actions by prosecutors that are designed to get defendants
to accept plea deals, including quick production of evidence
bolstering the cases against the defendants and lagging presentation
of evidence that could exonerate them.

“It definitely seems like everything about the case here is to try to
pressure people into pleading guilty,” Moseley told The Epoch Times.

Meggs, facing seditious conspiracy and five other charges, would have
considered agreeing to a deal, but only if the government dropped the
more serious charges, as is typical in reaching an agreement.

Lawyers for the eight other defendants either declined to comment or
did not respond to queries.

Three other members of the Oath Keepers pleaded guilty to seditious
conspiracy before the deadline, though it’s not clear if any received
the same or similar letters.

Joshua James pleaded guilty on March 2, Brian Ulrich pleaded guilty on
April 29, and William Todd Wilson pleaded guilty on May 4.

Overall, nearly 800 people have been charged in the breach on the
district or federal level. Approximately 248 have pleaded guilty to
federal charges. Only a handful of trials have been completed. All
defendants who have gone before juries have been convicted on all
charges; those who went before judges received split or full

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