Oath Keepers Founder Stewart Rhodes Secretly Backed Lawsuit for Government Based on ‘Lord Of The Rings’

After the violent Capitol uprising failed on January 6, Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes had another idea to overturn the election — a truly epic election.

While Rhodes’ lawyers claim the leader of the far-right militia “did nothing exactly” after his dreams of insurrection went up in smoke, new details have been revealed by The Daily Beast. revealed is not entirely accurate.

Just days after January 6, Rhodes and numerous militia members joined a federal lawsuit seeking to overturn the 2020 election, according to an inside source familiar with the matter.

Unfortunately for Rhodes and his countrymen, the lawsuit he signed, in short, is “madness. “It went off the rails almost as soon as it was taken to court, with the lead attorney quote Lord of the Rings as legal precedent.

In the end, the case was solved while sea ​​of ​​ridicule. But it didn’t start that way.

The full scope of the Oath Keepers shadow legal effort, largely led by the group’s then-general counsel Kellye SoRelle, stretched back to before the riots, according to many people involved. . In fact, it ran on a parallel road along with the paramilitary construction that defined the militia’s role, and it attracted a number of key figures on January 6th – including those associated with the Proud Boys and First Amendment Praetor.

Rick Hasen, a nationally recognized election law expert, told The Daily Beast that Rhodes’ connection to this lawsuit is underrated compared to other allegations — such as the stockpile weapons in preparation for a violent coup.

“I don’t know what it means for him to be one of many in this absurd lawsuit compared to the other, immediately more dangerous things he’s done,” Hasen said.

But Rhodes, a Yale Law graduate, appears to have been involved in the lawsuit from the start. And the connection represented in the legal push suggests that members of violent groups – with some like Rhodes facing conspiracy charges – coordinated to overturn the election in a number of ways. way more than one.

It also undermines assertions from Rhodes’ attorneys that the founder of Oath Keepers stopped trying to overturn the election after January 6 — a potentially important legal fact that could compromise the case. Rhodes’ trial as he tried to defend himself against allegations of “ambitious conspiracy”.

Oath Keepers militia founder Stewart Rhodes poses during an interview in Eureka, Montana, U.S. June 20, 2016.

REUTERS / Jim Urquhart / File photo

Just days after the riots, a group gathered at a home in a Dallas suburb to chart a legal path forward. According to a person with knowledge of the meeting, the crew included SoRelle, along with indicted Oath Holder Joshua James, and Texas attorney Paul Davis, who said in a court filing. later that he attended the January 6 protests to “gather evidence” on behalf of “one or more Plaintiffs.”

(Davis later filed a lawsuit against the reporter, which was dismissed with prejudice.)

The other parties to the case were also present and Rhodes was also present, the source said.

SoRelle who met some right-wing figures prior to the riots, was recruited after the election to examine the waters for a possible legal remedy. When the January 6 riot failed, a plan began to be worked out. And that is one of the things that Rhodes himself espoused.

The legal framework stems from a riot scheme led by right-wing radio host Jerome Corsi – a former confidant of Roger Stone, who received a detailed defense of the Oath-Keeper on May 5. and January 6 thought.

Corsi’s proposal was based on “too big” evidence and a misleading understanding of the Help America Vote Act, leading him to declare all of Congress illegitimate and demand a “redo” election. .”

Collin County Sheriff’s Office

The surface of the plan is astronomically unrealistic, but that doesn’t stop Corsi from voicing it “invincible argument.”

However, on January 5, the day before the riot, Rhodes put his name on Corsi’s road map. SoRelle, general counsel of the Oath Keepers, also signed. (Their autographed archived version can be found this.)

Reached for comment, Corsi told The Daily Beast he had “retired from active politics and did not give interviews about the election”.

The original lawsuit that Davis and SoRelle brought together was closely tied to Corsi’s path. It seeks to invalidate the 2020 election, declare Joe Biden’s victory “illegal” and dissolve Congress. Davis headed the attorney general, naming hundreds of defendants, including every member of Congress, all 50 governors and secretary of state, Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Somehow, it got weirder. In its most absurd repetition—With Davis, not SoRelle, at the helm — the lawsuit asks a federal judge to put the government in a Gondor-style receptacle from the mythical kingdom of Gondor. Lord of the Rings.

“During the course of the epic trilogy, the rightful king of Gondor renounced the throne,” the lawsuit explains. “As only a rightful king can sit on the throne of Gondor, a butler has been appointed to govern Gondor until the return of the King, called ‘Aragorn,’ occurs in end of the story.”

If that legal explanation is not convincing enough, the lawsuit continues: “This analogy may apply because now in Washington, D.C., a group of individuals claim to be President, Vice President, and National association has no legitimate claim to running Americans.”

Enrique Tarrio, President of Proud Boys, and Stewart Rhodes, Founder of Oath-Keepers, attend a meeting in a garage in Washington, US in a still image captured from video May 5. January 1, 2021, the day before the January 6 riots.

Saboteur Media / Handout via REUTERS

The lawyers then asked the judge to “designate a special group of masters” they had invented, called the “Managers”, to “test the illegitimate President’s powers.” until the matter is resolved through a jury trial.

Notably, the original complaint also asked the court to pre-empt the Justice Department, the FBI, and any other federal agency from arresting both the attorneys who filed the lawsuit — as well as “any plaintiff or employee.” potential evidence” —in connection with their participation in the January 6 riots.

As for those plaintiffs, many of them happened to be featured prominently on January 6.

One is Latino for Trump, one group associated with frontman Enrique Tarrio of Proud Boy. The leader of the organization, Bianca Gracia is also the plaintiff of “Gondor”. The day before the uprising, she met Rhodes, Tarrio and SoRelle in DC hotel garage.

Garage gang has another Gondor plaintiff — a resident of Virginia Joshua Macias. Macias was one of two men arrested in Pennsylvania days after the 2020 election when, Equip semi-automatic rifles, pistols and swordshe drove a van carrying QAnon propaganda through state roads to the Philadelphia convention center, where the ballots were being processed.

SoRelle claims that Gracia invited her to the garage to meet Tarrio, and “share information about criminal defense attorneys,” according to the report. Reuters. That same day, SoRelle, Rhodes, Gracia and Macias all endorsed Corsi’s argument, as did another adviser on the lawsuit.

However, most of Corsi’s signers remain anonymous. Likewise, most of Gondor’s plaintiffs are represented only by their initials. But according to someone with deep knowledge of the suit, that list includes many Oath Keepers.

Two of them stand out: Elmer “Stewart” Rhodes (“ER,” a resident of Texas) and Joshua James (“JJ,” of Alabama), an Oath-holder and Bodyguard Roger Stone.

SoRelle managed to distance both her and those who kept their oath to James, who was attacked conspiracy accusations last April for his alleged role in the Capitol attack.

James, SoRelle declaredcloser associated with the First Amendment magistrate, another far-right armed group. The April indictment cites video that shows James “assaulting multiple law enforcement officers after storming inside the building,” shouting, “Get out of my Capitol! This is my damn building! ”

After Davis filed that motion, Rhodes encouraged state governments to contribute to the case.

A database of hacked Oath Keeper emails shows that SoRelle is outsourcing legal research around the country, with Rhodes’ blessing.

“Stewart has agreed to allow me to email all chapters requesting assistance,” SoRelle wrote in a public release, a week after asking a federal judge to essentially disrupt the government. She copied Rhodes’ email, using his personal gmail address.

Among other things, the email also requested “documentation to all 50 states on their orders/policy changes modifying their absentee voting processes, drop box use, registration changes.” voter and certification information for the machines used for voting.”

“We were required to provide additional information to the court by February 10th and it took me 5 days to compile and draft,” SoRelle wrote. “If anyone is interested in supporting, please let me know. I want to coordinate the teams and split the states.”

On February 10, Davis filed an application Amendment complaint. It beats Gondor’s suggestion, but adds Rhodes. Six days later, he applied Second Amendment complaint.

On February 19th, the Gondor team disbanded under the pressure of competing legal strategies and “Ethical issues. “Davis withdraw as lead advisor, taking James but leaving SoRelle with Gracia, Latinos for Trump and Rhodes.

This will be Rhodes’ final legal setback for 11 months. He was arrested on January 13, and, along with Gondor’s colleague Joshua James, face charges that could carry up to 20 years in prison.

Just this week, his lawyer tell the court that Rhodes still believes the election was “illegal.” And unlike many rioters who received the earliest charges and claimed ignorance, Rhodes is leaning on it.

“There are a lot of public leaders who are still saying it on a regular basis,” his lawyer said.

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