The leader of the Oath Keepers militia was sentenced to 18 years in federal prison for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, according to multiple reports.
Stewart Rhodes, 58, was convicted in November on seditious conspiracy charges, and his sentence was the first “to be increased for fitting the legal definition of terrorism,” the New York Times reports.
In the past 20 years, only five people have been convicted of seditious conspiracy, and all were working on behalf of Islamic terrorist groups, the Washington Post reports.
“You sir, present an ongoing threat and a peril to this country, to the republic and the very fabric of our democracy,” Judge Amit P. Mehta told Rhodes, according to Post. “The moment you are released you will be prepared to take up arms against your government.”
Rhodes reportedly showed no contrition at his sentencing, instead referring to himself as a “political prisoner,” according to the Associated Press.
“Like President Trump my only crime is opposing those who are destroying our country,” Rhodes told Mehta.
Multiple Southern California residents have also been convicted of committing crimes on Jan. 6, including 40-year-old Daniel Rodriguez of Fontana, who pleaded guilty to using a stun gun on a police officer. He is likely to face seven to 10 years in prison, according to NBC News.
That victim, former Metropolitan Police Department Officer Michael Fanone, has become one of the most prominent survivors of the deadly insurrection and has been honored for his service.
Another prominent Jan. 6 participant from Southern California, the so-called “Beverly Hills Insurrectionist” Gina Bisignano, has not yet been sentenced.
Rolling Stone reports that she, too, has claimed to be a political prisoner, even after entering a guilty plea.