Justice Department Appeals Prison Sentences for Oath Keepers

The Justice Department appealed the sentences of seven members of the Oath Keepers for their part in the January 6th incident at the Capitol.

The move reveals that prosecutors are not happy with the severity of the jail time given by the federal judge in charge of the case, who was appointed by former President Barack Obama.

Those involved include Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes, who received the harshest sentence of any January 6th defendant. He received 18 years in prison for his role, which was portrayed as the mastermind of a nefarious criminal conspiracy to prevent the transfer of presidential power.

But the Justice Department apparently isn’t satisfied with that length of time, which is seven years shorter than prosecutors recommended.

It filed a series of appeals against the sentences of Rhodes’ codefendants, whose sentences also fell short of prosecutors’ recommendations.

They include: Florida Oath Keeper leader Kelly Meggs, who received a 12-year term, while the DOJ sought 21 years. Roberto Minuta of New York, sentenced to 4.5 years, far less than the DOJ-recommended 17 years. Joseph Hackett of Florida, who received a 3.5-year sentence versus the DOJ’s recommendation of 12 years. Ed Vallejo of Arizona received a 3-year sentence, the DOJ sought 17 years. And finally, David Moerschel of Florida was sentenced to three years, but the DOJ sought 10 years.

The DOJ is also appealing the conviction of two Oath Keeper members who were acquitted of seditious conspiracy but convicted of conspiring to obstruct Congress.

They are Jessica Watkins of Ohio, who was sentenced to 8.5 years in jail while the DOJ sought 18 years, and Kenneth Harrelson of Florida, who was sentenced to 4 years instead of the DOJ-recommended 15.

A DOJ spokesperson declined to comments on the appeals, which were filed with little additional information than what is required.

The department is expected to provide the full rationale for their appeal in the coming months through formal briefs.

The defendants will also likely file their own appeals against the convictions and sentences.


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