By Jan Wolfe
WASHINGTON -A member of the far-right Oath Keepers militia on Wednesday admitted to engaging in seditious conspiracy during last year’s attack on the U.S. Capitol, the latest in a string of courtroom victories for the Justice Department.
William Todd Wilson of North Carolina pleaded guilty during a federal court hearing in Washington. He was the third Oath Keepers defendant to plead guilty to seditious conspiracy and obstruction charges.
Separately, a federal judge on Wednesday ordered Oath Keepers member Edward Vallejo released from custody while he awaits trial in the case.
Several other defendants are still on track for a trial later this year, including Stewart Rhodes, the founder of the Oath Keepers.
An indictment against Rhodes and others unsealed in January is the only criminal case accusing participants in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack of engaging in seditious conspiracy, defined as attempting “to overthrow, put down or to destroy by force the government of the United States.”
About 800 people have been charged with taking part in the Capitol riot in which supporters of Republican then-President Donald Trump tried to prevent formal congressional certification of his 2020 election loss to Democrat Joe Biden, attacking police and sending lawmakers scrambling for safety. Trump has made false claims that he lost due to widespread voting fraud.
According to prosecutors, Rhodes had warned his group to prepare for a “bloody and desperate fight” in the days leading up to the Capitol assault.
About 250 Capitol riot defendants have pleaded guilty so far.
The Justice Department has obtained convictions in all four Capitol riot cases that ended in a jury trial. Most recently, a jury on Monday convicted Thomas Webster, rejecting arguments the former New York City police officer was acting in self-defense when he struck a Washington police officer with a flagpole and tackled him.
(Reporting by Jan Wolfe; Additional reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Scott Malone, Richard Pullin and Chris Reese)