A federal judge sentenced Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes to 18 years in prison following his conviction on seditious conspiracy charges for his role in the riot at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.
"You, sir, present an ongoing threat and a peril to this country and to the republic and to the very fabric of this democracy," Judge Amit Mehta told Rhodes before she handed down the sentence.
While Rhodes, who did not storm the Capitol Building on January 6, tried to distance himself from the events, prosecutors accused him of encouraging protesters to show up armed with rifles.
"On the 6th, they are going to put the final nail in the coffin of this Republic unless we fight our way out. With Trump (preferably) or without him, we have no choice," Rhodes wrote in a message to the Oath Keepers.
"They won't fear us until we come with rifles in hand," he wrote to the militia group in another message. Prosecutors also played a recording from after the January 6 riot in which Rhodes said that the protesters "should have brought rifles."
Rhodes' sentence is the longest handed down to a defendant convicted of being involved in the January 6 riot.