U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta made headlines on Thursday when he sentenced Stewart Rhodes, leader of the far-right militant group Oath Keepers, to 18 years in federal prison for his role in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. The sentencing marks a significant victory for prosecutors seeking to hold accountable those responsible for the deadly insurrection.
Mehta, who was born in India and appointed to the federal bench by President Barack Obama in 2014, had some tough words for Rhodes before handing down the sentence. He called the crime of seditious conspiracy "among the most serious crimes an individual American can commit," and emphasized the need to deter others from following in Rhodes' footsteps.
Rhodes, who founded the Oath Keepers in 2009, played a key role in organizing and leading a group of Oath Keepers who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, according to prosecutors. He was charged with seditious conspiracy, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, as well as obstruction of an official proceeding and destruction of government property.