(Ken Silva, Headline USA) No American had been convicted of seditious conspiracy prior to 2022, but that changed with the recent guilty verdicts against members of the right-wing Oath Keepers and Proud Boys for their actions on Jan. 6, 2021—leaving many to wonder: Will the DOJ prosecute Donald Trump next?
Left-wing media outlets have claimed that the “walls are closing in” around Trump so many times that it’s become an internet meme.
But in this case, some of the most vocal proponents of the theory that the DOJ will pursue sedition charges against are coming from conservative media. After all, if the DOJ is trying to sell to the American public that there was a widespread conspiracy to steal the election on J6, then it’s only reasonable to assume that prosecutors will accuse Trump of being the leader of such a scheme.
American Greatness writer Julie Kelly, who covered the Proud Boys trial, is one of the proponents of this theory.
“When he is indicted … which I think the chances have increased tremendously after today, I think he might get ‘pretrial detention’—what they did to every defendant charged with seditious conspiracy. So now they have a precedent for courts to sign off on,” Kelly said in the wake of the Proud Boys convictions.
As Kelly and others have noted, during the closing arguments of the Proud Boys trial, prosecutors played to the jury a video of Trump’s infamous remarks at a September 2020 presidential debate, when he told the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by.” The DOJ also cited this remark when announcing the convictions—suggesting that Merrick Garland’s Justice Department views Trump as a player in the so-called J6 conspiracy.
Trump’s innocuous remarks at a presidential debate may seem too tenuous to serve as a basis for seditious conspiracy charges. But conservative legal analysts have noted that the bar has been lowered for proving seditious conspiracy.
“The jury [in the Proud Boys trial] was told that seditious conspiracy didn’t merely mean overthrow the government through force; it had the much broader meaning of interfering with the government by use of force,” Rachel Alexander, a former assistant attorney general for the state of Arizona, recently wrote for Townhall.
“[The judge] ruled that jurors could convict on conspiracy even if they found there was no plan to disrupt the certification of the election, but merely an ‘unspoken agreement’—whatever that means—to do so.”
And if Trump’s case were to be tried in Washington DC—as the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys were—Kelly, Alexander and others think there’s a more-than-likely chance that he is convicted.
“If anyone thinks it’s beyond the pale for this Justice Department to portray Trump as the American version of Osama bin Laden, think again,” Kelly said.
Ken Silva is a staff writer at Headline USA. Follow him at twitter.com/jd_cashless.