The Oath Keepers seditious conspiracy trial continues on Tuesday with more testimony from FBI Special Agent Byron Cody about what he uncovered from devices belonging to the extremist group’s leader, Elmer Stewart Rhodes, and a slew of his co-defendants.
Some communications seized from his device were unfurled for jurors last week. Those messages offered grim insight into the group’s alleged plans to keep former President Donald Trump in office despite his defeat by now-President Joe Biden in the 2020 election.
There are still a huge number of text messages and correspondence to be reviewed. After Cody leaves the witness stand, prosecutors are expected to haul in at least two more FBI agents for testimony. Ernest Hancock, the Arizona-based host of the right-wing podcast Declare Your Independence, is also expected to testify on behalf of the federal government this week.
Hancock hosted Oath Keepers on his podcast including Rhodes and defendant Edward Vallejo on the morning of the Capitol assault. Vallejo has been split from the Rhodes trial group due to logistical reasons and will go to trial in November.
During the podcast appearance, Arizona Oath Keeper Todd Kandaris joined Vallejo. Vallejo and Kandaris each regaled Hancock with details of the network’s plans for that morning and discussed the “quick reaction force” the group had arranged. Vallejo said he took orders from Rhodes directly as well. In an appearance on Hancock’s podcast on Jan. 15, 2021, Rhodes promoted the idea of utilizing militias to aid the U.S. Army, but he was also caught on mic lashing out at Trump.
Rhodes sounded frustrated that Trump never invoked the Insurrection Act on Jan. 6. He was of the opinion that the 2020 election was stolen and when Trump failed to raise the Oath Keepers to his side during the joint session, he appeared to feel slighted.
“Trump is the, Trump is the giant vagina. That’s what I think. I think Trump is a blowhard. He just wanted to be president and he ain’t gonna do shit. Just between you and me. He’s not doing a damn thing...[about the stolen election],” Rhodes said on the podcast.
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