Elmer Stewart Rhodes III, founder of the Oath Keepers, will remain jailed until trial on a host of federal charges stemming from the U.S. Capitol incident on Jan. 6, 2021, a federal magistrate in Plano, Texas, ruled on Jan. 26.
Magistrate Judge Kimberly Priest Johnson agreed with federal prosecutors, who argued that there are no conditions of bail that would guarantee Rhodes’s appearance for trial and protect the public from a man charged with seditious conspiracy to disrupt the federal government and the peaceful transfer of power after the 2020 elections.
“The weight of the evidence against defendant is strong and reveals defendant’s participation in a coordinated attack on government officials within the United States Capitol and that defendant put in place and controlled armed groups to support and/or further escalate the planned attack,” the judge wrote in a 17-page ruling.
Johnson cited Rhodes’s lack of ties to any community, a large-scale purchase of arms, disdain for the federal government, failure to file income taxes since 2007, and reports of domestic violence as factors weighing in favor of his pretrial detention.
Rhodes, 56, of Granbury, Texas, and 10 others were charged on Jan. 12 with seditious conspiracy, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of an official proceeding, and other charges stemming from the Oath Keepers’ presence at the U.S. Capitol breach.
Rhodes was arrested by FBI agents in Texas on Jan. 13. A detention hearing was held on Jan. 24 after federal prosecutors filed a memorandum seeking to keep Rhodes in federal custody pending trial. The magistrate issued her order on Jan. 26.
During the hearing, Rhodes’s estranged wife Tasha Adams testified by telephone that she fears for her safety and that of the six Rhodes children if her husband is released.
“Ms. Adams testified that defendant’s violence toward the family became more frequent in 2016 and that her greatest fear was that defendant would murder Ms. Adams and the children before committing suicide,” the judge wrote in her ruling. “Ms. Adams admitted that she never filed a police report or reported the incidents to friends or family.”
Rhodes is the founder and leader of the Oath Keepers, a nationwide group of current and former military, law enforcement, and first responders who say they seek to defend and preserve constitutional rights based on the oath they took to defend the United States from “all enemies, foreign and domestic.”
Attorney Phillip Linder told reporters in Dallas that he would appeal the detention order.