SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – A Guyton man is among the group of defendants now charged with seditious conspiracy in connection to the Jan. 6 riot, the first time such a charge has been handed down in the investigation.
Hundreds have been arrested in the ongoing investigation of the 2021 attack when supporters of former President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol as Congress met to certify President Joe Biden’s victory.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the new charges Thursday against Brian Ulrich, 44, and other members of the Oath Keepers, including the far-right group’s leader, Stewart Rhodes, 56.
The DOJ claims Ulrich, who had been previously charged in the investigation, began planning for the riot a week prior and had joined an online group to discuss arrangements.
On the day of the attack, Ulrich allegedly formed a “stack” formation and breached the Capitol grounds with other Oath Keepers and affiliates.
The federal crime is a conspiracy to commit sedition, which is defined as “incitement of resistance to or insurrection against lawful authority.”
The maximum penalty for the charge is 20 years in prison.
The last seditious conspiracy case brought by U.S. prosecutors was in 2010 when members of the Hutaree militia allegedly plotted to incite an uprising against the government in Michigan.
A judge ultimately ordered acquittals on the charges, saying prosecutors relied too much on hateful diatribes protected by the First Amendment and didn’t prove the accused ever had detailed plans for a rebellion.
Among the last successful convictions for seditious conspiracy stemmed from another storming of the Capitol in 1954, when four Puerto Rican nationalists opened fire on the House floor, wounding five representatives.
The Associated Press contributed to this report