By John Friend
The leader of the Alabama chapter of the Oath Keepers has pleaded guilty to one count of seditious conspiracy and one count of obstructing an official proceeding, almost one year after being arrested on a slew of charges relating to his and other Oath Keepers’ involvement in the January 6th protest at the U.S. Capitol.
Joshua James, 34, of Arab, Alabama was one of eleven members of the Oath Keepers indicted on January 12th of this year on sedition, conspiracy, obstruction and related charges for their participation in the protests in Washington, D.C., which the fake news media and political establishment have unfairly characterized as an insurrection.
James entered a plea agreement deal with federal prosecutors in exchange for his cooperation in the prosecution, which is can be used to help him at sentencing, Judge Amit P. Mehta stated at the plea hearing. Without his full cooperation, which will be determined by federal prosecutors, he will stand in violation of the agreement and will be prosecuted with the full range of charges in the indictment.
At the March 2nd hearing, James admitted that he and other members of the Oath Keepers “had planned to storm the Capitol with the explicit goal of stopping the certification of the 2020 Electoral College vote,” according to a report from CNN.
“Do you agree that in taking such actions, you were trying to influence the conduct of the United States government or retaliate against the United States government?” Judge Mehta asked James at the hearing.
“Yes sir,” James responded.
The Oath Keepers are a non-partisan association of current and former military members, police officers and other first responders who pledge to uphold the sacred oath to defend the U.S. Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. The organization played a key role in organizing its members to participate in the protests on January 6th, coordinating with other patriotic organizations and Trump supporters in an effort to demonstrate against what they perceived to be widespread voter fraud and election rigging in the 2020 presidential election.
“In his guilty plea, James, a military veteran, admitted that, from November 2020 through January 2021, he conspired with other Oath Keeper members and affiliates to use force to prevent, hinder and delay the execution of the laws of the United States governing the transfer of presidential power,” a Department of Justice press release explains in announcing the plea deal. “He used encrypted and private communications, equipped himself with a variety of weapons, donned combat and tactical gear, and was prepared to answer a call to take up arms.”
James is the first and only member of the Oath Keepers charged in the January 12th indictment to reach a deal with federal prosecutors and admit guilt. The other ten individuals charged, including Stewart Rhodes, the leader of the national Oath Keepers organization and its main spokesman, have all pleaded not guilty.
According to the Justice Department, more than 750 individuals have been arrested in what has been described as the biggest criminal investigation in U.S. history for their role in the protests on January 6th. FBI and other law enforcement investigators have poured through social media feeds, examined hours of video footage and expended virtually limitless resources pursuing the investigation.
Critics view the investigation as a politically motivated witch hunt designed to silence and intimidate dissidents, including the countless who peacefully protested at the U.S. Capitol. Many point to the blatant hypocrisy and double standards within the justice system, highlighting the non-investigation and prosecution of Black Lives Matter, antifa and other far-left protesters, rioters and terrorists who engaged in widespread criminality and mayhem in previous years and particularly throughout 2020, often instigated and fueled by dishonest media coverage of racially sensitive police encounters.
James faces “up to 20 years in prison for seditious conspiracy and up to 20 years for obstruction of an official proceeding, along with potential financial penalties,” according to the Justice Department. No sentencing date has been set.