The seditious conspiracy trial of members of the Oath Keepers charged in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol resumed Tuesday after Stewart Rhodes, founder of the extremist group, waived his right to be present in federal court after testing positive for the coronavirus in jail.
Rhodes, 56, speaking by telephone from jail to the courthouse in D.C., waived his constitutional right to be present for testimony of eight government witnesses who his attorneys said were less critical to his defense because they would speak to events inside the Capitol, which Rhodes is not accused of entering.
The move allowed the fourth week of testimony to resume after a one-day break in the trial of Rhodes and four others, but it could prevent the government from completing its case Friday as prosecutors planned. Rhodes’s defense said he wanted to be present for testimony by at least one and potentially several Oath Keepers witnesses who have pleaded guilty to conspiracy and agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors.
U.S. District Judge Amit P. Mehta said he would confirm his understanding that jail quarantine protocols would prevent Rhodes from participating in his trial by video conference or to be transported to court until Monday at the earliest.