YouTube has deactivated two channels associated with the Oath Keepers group after its leader and 10 different members were arrested on seditious conspiracy charges in connection to the January 6, 2021, storming of the U.S. Capitol.
“The seditious conspiracy indictment alleges that, following the Nov. 3, 2020, presidential election, Rhodes conspired with his co-defendants and others to oppose by force the execution of the laws governing the transfer of presidential power by Jan. 20, 2021,” the Justice Department wrote in a release.
YouTube shuts down two Oath Keepers channels https://t.co/8s6AfkZe51— Justin Hendrix (@justinhendrix) January 21, 2022
YouTube told Axios, which first reported the story, that the group violated its creator accountability guidelines.
The two channels affected were one named “Oath Keepers” which had fewer than 45,000 subscribers, and the one held by the group’s founder and national leader Stewart Rhodes, which had fewer than 20 subscribers.
According to YouTube spokesperson Ivy Choi, its guidelines state that if “significant evidence is presented in a court of law against a creator for a very egregious
crime, we may terminate their channel if its YouTube comment is closely related to the crime.”
“This termination follows evidence presented in federal indictments against the Oath Keepers and the charges against them and their role in the January 6 attacks,” Choi told Axios.
In a court filing on Wednesday, prosecutors claimed that a group of Oath Keepers stockpiled an arsenal of rifles and ammunition in a hotel outside Washington, D.C., as part of a project to stop the electoral vote count on January 6, 2021.
Oath Keepers will no longer be able to use, own or make other YouTube channels, Choi told Axios, and YouTube will remove any content or delete new channels that re-upload content from the deleted accounts.
Rhodes never entered the Capitol building on January 6, though he is blamed for helping set the violence into motion.
In addition to Rhodes and Vallejo, those named in the indictment include nine previously charged defendants: Thomas Caldwell, 67, of Berryville, Virginia; Joseph Hackett, 51, of Sarasota, Florida; Kenneth Harrelson, 41, of Titusville, Florida; Joshua James, 34, of Arab, Alabama; Kelly Meggs, 52, of Dunnellon, Florida; Roberto Minuta, 37, of Prosper, Texas; David
Moerschel, 44, of Punta Gorda, Florida; Brian Ulrich, 44, of Guyton, Georgia and Jessica Watkins, 39, of Woodstock, Ohio. In addition to the earlier charges filed against them, they now face additional counts for seditious conspiracy and other offenses.
Eight other individuals affiliated with the Oath Keepers, all previously charged in the investigation, remain
as defendants in two related cases. All defendants – but Rhodes and Vallejo – previously were charged in a superseding indictment. The superseding indictment has now effectively been split into three parts:
|•||The eleven-defendant seditious conspiracy case|
|•||A seven-defendant original case|
|•||A third case against one of the previously charged defendants|