A jury convicted Arizona Oath Keeper Edward Vallejo of seditious conspiracy and other charges on Monday for his involvement with the protest on January 6, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol. Three other Oath Keepers were also convicted of that and other lesser offenses. The 63-year-old Army veteran’s defense attorney, Matthew Peed, said he plans to appeal.
“Ed brought 30 days of food with him, not just for himself but for a group, and he believed he was going to a campground where he would set up a food kitchen and cook for protesters,” Peed defended Vallejo’s role during opening statements. “And it would be kind of a, kind of like a festival.”
Vallejo worked security for Donald Trump associate Roger Stone on the day before January 6, at the Rally to Save America at Freedom Plaza. He and other Oath Keepers paid for four rooms at Comfort Inn in Arlington, Virginia, and Vallejo never left the hotel during January 6. Vallejo, who works as an Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor in his free time, was not arrested until a year after January 6. Peed said he never took any action, and he thought he was merely supporting peaceful protesters. Vallejo did not go to the Capitol or deliver weapons there. He brought 200 pounds of food and supplies, intending to cook for those participating in the protest.
When Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes, a graduate of Yale Law School, suggested Vallejo and others delete their texts in a group chat, Vallejo declined, stating he had nothing to hide. “Oh, I got that (call to delete evidence) but I didn’t do anything wrong and I was at the hotel when things got wonky,” Vallejo texted Rhodes, adding, “running and hiding is what GUILTY people do.”
Since the Oath Keepers, who always carry firearms, had weapons in their hotel room, the prosecution asserted that the group had “stockpiled” an “arsenal” in preparation for violence. But Peed said its “quick reaction forces” were a defensive group only, ready to come to the defense of any Oath Keeper who needed protection.
Prosecutors asserted that a text message from Vallejo intended violence. “Vallejo back at hotel and outfitted,” he messaged to other Oath Keepers at 2:24 p.m. on January 6, 2021. “Have 2 trucks available. Let me know how I can assist.”
They also cited a statement he’d made that morning during a radio interview with Arizona Libertarian talk show host Ernest Hancock, saying if the election wasn’t overturned “that’s going to be the declaration of a guerrilla war.” Vallejo sent a text to Hancock joking on January 6, “So, have you secured the Arizona Capitol yet, slacker? Waitin’ on you now.” Vallejo also texted other Oath Keepers who were at the Capitol asking if they needed assistance, but no one responded to him.
According to The Arizona Republic, “Friends say he is passionate, tends to sensationalize and uses theatrical language, but he wouldn’t harm anyone.” Vallejo spoke to a friend of his, Adam Kokesh, a few days after the arrest to explain his role at the Capitol. He told him, “I was never a member of any force,” he said. “I was just there to feed people. I am clean. I never went to do any harm. I went to feed people and that’s it.”
Vallejo was also convicted of conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of an official proceeding, aiding and abetting, and conspiracy to prevent a member of Congress from discharging their official duties.
Seditious conspiracy is considered a serious but lesser counterpart to treason. It applies to two or more people who seek to “overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof.”
David Sumrall, who created the documentaries “Righting History” and “Bloody Hill” about January 6, told The Arizona Sun Times it has become easy for juries to convict January 6 defendants due to how unfairly the first trial was handled. Rhodes was the first Oath Keeper to be convicted of seditious conspiracy, along with Kelly Meggs, a leader of the group in Florida.
“In the first OathKeepers trial, the judge would not allow the jury to see video evidence of OathKeepers who were helping the police on January 6th, also protecting police in the building, and rescuing injured protesters, all which proved they had zero intentions of overthrowing anything,” Sumrall said. “I personally submitted the video to the attorneys and when the judge watched it, he decided the jury should not see it. It showed a different story than the one he wanted the jury to see. If that had changed the outcome of the first trial, this one would have been very different, right?”
No one in the U.S. until January 6 had been convicted of seditious conspiracy since 1996 when a New York jury found a group of Islamic terrorists guilty of planning to bomb New York’s George Washington Bridge, the Lincoln and Holland tunnels, and other city landmarks.
Seditious conspiracy carries a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment. Nearly 1,000 people were charged with crimes associated with the riot at the Capitol, but only 11 with seditious conspiracy. Rhodes is scheduled to be sentenced in April. Several members of the Proud Boys, including Enrique Tarrio, are currently standing trial in the same D.C. court.
Vallejo was arrested in January 2022 and jailed until May 2022, when he was released to home confinement. The other three convicted defendants were Roberto Minuta, Joseph Hackett, and David Moerschel. They entered the Capitol building, unlike Vallejo. Another man from Arizona who stayed at the hotel with Vallejo was not prosecuted.
Five Oath Keepers were prosecuted last fall for their role in January 6, with Rhodes convicted for seditious conspiracy, obstruction of an official proceeding, and tampering with documents or proceedings. The other four were convicted of various offenses.
Sumrall told The Sun Times, “Oath Keepers deserve fair trials and justice, but with judges like the ones in DC, and juries to match, covered by a corrupt media, sadly, they probably won’t ever see either one.”
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Rachel Alexander is a reporter at The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Rachel on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “January 6” by TapTheForwardAssist. CC BY-SA 4.0.
How’s it going with the cops responsible for the deaths of two people on January 6? Have they been tried yet? Or maybe given a medal by our corrupt government?
It is long past time for the January 6 demonstrators to be released and sent home. Weeks/months/years in confinement? Outrageous.
What jury would rule against people who were cooking? Sounds like Trudeau and the truckers.
This jailing might be a good thing. Having a conservative vein jailed in Wash DC is a way of taking the temperature there and eventually apply that same vice grip to liberal bad actors
This is a way to evenly parse ye old justice .
The judge and jury both need hung out to dry.
Given the combination of unscrupulous prosecutors, corrupt judges, and a hopelessly biased jury pool, it’s impossible for any conservative to get a fair trial in D.C.
Congress is ultimately responsible for what happens in D.C., so maybe Speaker McCarthy needs to add this to his to-do list.
Yes, I would like to know who the heck are the jury people who convict people who have stayed in a hotel and never went to the rally but yet are charged with stopping Congress from working which is a laugh. Where are the lawyers associations who are supposed to be making sure these judges apply the law correctly. And how come the judges themselves aren’t being investigated and being brought up for not letting legitimate evidence into the trial. People who have committed murder have gotten loose thanks to organizations going after and exposing judges. Where are these organizations. These judges are more crooked than criminals already in jail. They need to be investigated and removed. If it was my family member being treated like this I would be all over the news because you complain enough and some big lawyer will take notice. Why are the families so quiet. Getting paid off by someone for their silence.
This is why I say we have no justice system any more. The guilty people are the judges and juries along with the FBI and DOJ. Sure are a lot of people going to end up in hell when the end of time comes!!!!!
From what I’ve read here this is a travesty. The charge of “seditious conspiracy” against Vallejo is absurd, plus if he were a true suspect why did it take a year to arrest him? These people are being overcharged in an attempt to slap them with something that will stick under the notion “they must be guilty of something.” Everyone of those arrested deserves a change of venue without which there cannot be a fair trial.
This Government is so F–ing corrupt it makes one sick to their stomach and the petty things they go after makes you want to go into convulsions. How in he’ll can you charge someone that wasn’t even there at the Capital that day????? MERRICK GARLAND < FBI CIA, CAP. POLICE , PELOSI, SCHUMER< & YES BIDEN YOU ALL HAVE BLOOD ON YOUR HANDS & A DAYOF RECONING BEFORE OUR ALMIGHTY GOD !!!!!!
Justice will never be served if these trials for J6 prisoners are held in the DC area. Is there no way to move them to another state?