Posts tagged with "Conspiracy"

Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes is convicted of sedition in landmark January 6 case

December 1, 2022

Stewart Rhodes, the leader of the far-right Oath Keepers militia, was convicted on Tuesday, November 29, along with one of his subordinates, of seditious conspiracy as a jury found them guilty of seeking to keep former President Donald Trump in power through an extensive plot that started after the 2020 election and culminated in the mob attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021, reports The New York Times.

The jury in Federal District Court in Washington, D.C., found three other defendants in the case not guilty of sedition and acquitted Rhodes of two separate conspiracy charges.

The split verdicts, coming after three days of deliberations, were a landmark—if not total—victory for the Justice Department, which poured enormous effort into prosecuting Rhodes and his four co-defendants.

The sedition convictions marked the first time in nearly 20 trials related to the Capitol attack that a jury had decided that the violence that erupted on January 6, 2021, was the product of an organized conspiracy.

Seditious conspiracy is the most serious charge brought so far in any of the 900 criminal cases stemming from the vast investigation of the Capitol attack—an inquiry that could still result in scores, if not hundreds, of additional arrests.

Rhodes, 57, also was found guilty of obstructing the certification of the election during a joint session of Congress on January 6 and of destroying evidence in the case. On those three counts, he faces a maximum of 60 years in prison.

Nearly two years after the assault on the Capitol by Trump supporters, the events of January 6 and what led up to them remain at the center of American politics and the subject of multiple investigations, including an inquiry by the Justice Department into any criminal culpability that Trump and some of his allies might face and an exhaustive account being assembled by a House select committee.

The conviction of Rhodes underscored the seriousness and intensity of the effort by pro-Trump forces to reverse the outcome of the 2020 election and was the highest-profile legal reckoning yet from a case related to January 6.

Rhodes was also acquitted of two different conspiracy charges: one that accused him of plotting to disrupt the election certification in advance of January 6 and the other of planning to stop members of Congress from discharging their duties that day.

Taken as a whole, the verdicts suggested that the jury rejected the centerpiece of Rhodes’s defense: that he had no concrete plan on January 6 to disrupt the transfer of presidential power and to keep Joe Biden from entering the White House.

But the jury also made the confusing decision to acquit Rhodes of planning in advance to disrupt the certification of the election yet convict him of actually disrupting the certification process. That suggested that the jurors may have believed that the violence at the Capitol on January 6 erupted more or less spontaneously, as Rhodes has claimed.

In a statement on Tuesday night, Attorney General Merrick Garland noted the convictions against all five defendants. “The Justice Department is committed to holding accountable those criminally responsible for the assault on our democracy on January 6, 2021,” he said.

Research contact: @nytimes

Theranos’ Elizabeth Holmes will be sentenced in September

January 17, 2022

Elizabeth Holmes, the disgraced founder of Theranos, will be sentenced on September 26 in San Jose, California, after a jury found her guilty on Monday, January 4, on four of 11 charges in a case of criminal fraud, reports Vanity Fair.

Holmes founded Theranos in 2003 after dropping out of Stanford University at the age of 19. She went on to become a billionaire on paper after raising more than $900 million from investors, based on the promise that the company’s innovative blood testing technology would be able to diagnose a wide variety of diseases with just a few drops of blood from a patient—rather than the traditional vials of blood drawn from a patient’s vein. 

However, Theranos ultimately ended up shutting down in 2018 after The Wall Street Journal published an exposé in 2015— divulging that the tests were not accurate and that Theranos was using traditional machines for its testing rather than its own technology.

That same year, the 37-year-old entrepreneur was charged by federal prosecutors with nine counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud over allegations that she deceived investors and patients about the company’s technology.

The jury, which comprised eight men and four women, convicted Holmes on one charge of conspiracy and three charges of fraud. They determined she was not guilty of a second conspiracy charge and not guilty on three fraud charges. They were unable to reach a unanimous decision on another three fraud charges, which the U.S. government plans to dismiss, according to a court filing on Tuesday, Janury 11. Each count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

Holmes pleaded not guilty to all charges and took to the stand to defend herself during the trial, during which she admitted to having regrets but denied defrauding anyone. She also placed blamed on her former boyfriend and ex-Theranos Chief Operating Officer Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani for allegedly misleading her about the effectiveness of Theranos’ technology, and she accused him of emotional and sexual abuse.

Balwani will face his own trial beginning in March over his alleged role in defrauding the company’s stakeholders, following delays due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Research contact: @VanityFair