By ALANNA DURKIN RICHER
(AP) – The voting was over and almost all ballots were counted. News outlets on Nov. 7, 2020, had called the presidential race for Democrat Joe Biden. But the leader of the Oath Keepers extremist group was just beginning to fight.
Convinced the White House had been stolen from Republican Donald Trump, Stewart Rhodes exhorted his followers to action, suggesting they emulate a popular uprising that brought down Yugoslavia’s president two decades earlier. He published a version of his appeal online, headlined, “What We The People Must Do.”
“We must now … refuse to accept it and march en-mass on the nation’s Capitol,” Rhodes declared to fellow Oath Keepers.
Authorities allege that Rhodes and his band of extremists would spend the next several weeks amassing weapons, organizing paramilitary training and readying armed teams outside Washington with a singular goal: stopping Joe Biden from becoming president.
Their plot would come to a head on Jan. 6, 2021, prosecutors say, when Oath Keepers wearing helmets and other battle gear were captured on camera shouldering their way through the crowd of angry Trump supporters and storming the Capitol in military-style stack formation.
Hundreds of pages of court documents in the case against Rhodes and four co-defendants — whose trial opens with jury selection Tuesday in Washington’s federal court — paint a picture of a group so determined to overturn Biden’s election that some members were prepared to lose their lives to do so.