Phoenix Oath Keeper January 6 trial begins in D.C.

Published: Dec. 12, 2022 at 4:23 PM MST
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - The trial of a Phoenix man began in Washington, D.C. Monday after his alleged involvement in the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Edward Vallejo, a former member of the anti-government Oath Keepers militia group is facing charges in D.C. District Court with District Judge Amit Megta presiding. The 64-year-old Vallejo is facing four charges at Prettyman Court House, just blocks from the Capitol where the insurrection took place.

Vallejo was in the courtroom with three other Oath Keepers facing similar charges, all with separate defenses. The first and most serious charge Vallejo faces is seditious conspiracy - opposing the lawful transfer of presidential power by force. That conviction carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. He is also charged with conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of an official proceeding, and conspiracy to prevent an officer from discharging any duties. The government laid out for the 16 jurors how they plan to prove these charges, saying the group acted in a calculated and coordinated fashion, proving conspiracy.

Defense teams tried to downplay any perceived coordination. Vallejo’s defense attorney told the jury he knew nothing of any conspiracy that may have existed. Vallejo is alleged to have been a key component of the quick reaction force, or QRF, which allegedly were set to step in with weapons from Virginia if the use of force became necessary on January 6. Vallejo’s defense said he drove from Arizona with food, was expecting to set up a snack shop, and was ready to assist as part of the QRF to help people in harm’s way.

Witnesses are expected to begin testifying Tuesday. The trial for the previous group of Oath Keepers took around two months but it is unclear how long Vallejo’s will take. Sentencing for those found guilty is not expected until next year.