The federal judge overseeing a case against the founder of far-right anti-government group The Oath Keepers and several of its members has rejected an attempt to delay the trial, which is expected to begin in Washington DC within three weeks.
Despite his efforts to fire them, Stewart Rhodes will be represented by the attorneys he reprimanded in a judicial filing this week, according to US District Court Judge Amit Mehta.
A newly hired attorney for Mr. Rhodes filed a motion to dismiss his trial on charges of seditious conspiracy for his role in the attack on the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021, citing an “almost complete disruption of the law. communication “with his legal team, who claimed that Mr. Rhodes has” raised and terminated “.
He also asked for another three months to prepare for the trial.
The following day, Judge Mehta criticized Mr. Rhodes’ allegations and attempted to block the case by calling it “unfair and frankly baffling” during a 15-minute screed.
“The first real allegation is that somehow Mr. Rhodes is not receiving a fair trial, and this is unequivocally untrue,” Judge Mehta said on Sept. 7.
Judge Mehta said that “at no time” since his arrest has Mr. Rhodes “been silent” and “I have not heard a peek from Mr. Rhodes about his lack of contact with his lawyers or his disenchantment with the performance of the his lawyers “.
“Not once did he complain about a shred of his lawyers,” Judge Mehta said.
In his statement on Tuesday, Mr. Rhodes said he had received “no mailing” from the two attorneys who represented him – James Lee Bright and Phillip Linder – “and has received no visits in nearly two months,” according to the filing. Louisiana-based attorney Edward L Tarpley Jr.
Mr. Bright told the judge that the filing signaled a “lack of trust” in their relationship with Mr. Rhodes.
“Maybe it’s a broken relationship, Your Honor,” said Mr. Bright. “I gave Mr. Rhodes seven months of my life. I missed the sporting events. I wasted time with my family for a man I don’t know. I am ready to come to Washington for six weeks away from my children ”.
Judge Mehta said Mr. Rhodes’ attorneys “will be at that table” to represent him, “full stop, end of story.”
The judge also dismissed Mr. Rhodes in favor of further evidence in the case; requested reams of testimony from a House Select Committee investigation into the attack on the Capitol, including interviews with Kelly SoRelle, the general counsel of the Oath Guardians who spoke to the committee earlier this year and was arrested in Texas last week.
Mr. Rhodes has received “every dispensation,” including frequent sessions during which he is allowed to review evidence in court, Judge Mehta said. Federal prosecutors went out of their way to provide him with evidence, he said, with US marshals escorting him to court twice a week for up to six hours at a time while he remains incarcerated in Washington.
“No other defendants are getting that kind of accommodation. None, “according to Judge Mehta.
Federal prosecutors said Mr. Rhodes and other militia members spent weeks plotting an attempt to disrupt the joint session of Congress, including plans for an arms and supply depot, to prevent Joe Biden’s presidency and keep Donald Trump in office.
A trial is expected to begin on September 26th. Mr. Rhodes has pleaded not guilty.