Oath Keepers founder Elmer Stewart Rhodes III is warning former President Donald Trump that there could be serious legal troubles ahead of him.
“They’re going to do the same thing to President Trump that they did to me,” Mr. Rhodes told The Washington Times in an interview published on July 4, while speaking from the D.C. Department of Corrections Central Detention Facility, where he is being held in isolation.
Mr. Rhodes, who founded the Oath Keepers militia group in 2009, was sentenced to 18 years in prison in May, after being found guilty of seditious conspiracy and other crimes related to the U.S. Capitol breach on Jan. 6, 2021.
According to the outlet, Mr. Rhodes said the federal government is working to have people in Trump’s inner circle turn against the former president, as well as scaring off potential witnesses that may come to his defense.
“You’re going to get railroaded. You’re going to be found guilty if you try to go to trial. So everyone’s been demoralized and more likely to take a plea deal and agree to ‘test-a-lie’ against President Trump,” Mr. Rhodes said.
So far, Mr. Trump has now been indicted twice. In April, the former president was charged with 34 accounts of falsifying business records related to alleged hush payments made during the 2016 presidential campaign, following a decision by a grand jury empaneled by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.
Mr. Trump has pleaded not guilty to all charges and stated that Mr. Bragg has “no case” against him.
The former president also faces a total of 37 felony counts over his handling of documents at his Mar-a-Lago resort, including violating the federal Espionage Act and other federal statutes for allegedly making false statements, concealing documents, and conspiring to obstruct justice. The indictment was brought by special counsel Jack Smith.
Mr. Trump has pleaded not guilty in the document case and has said he declassified the materials when he left office.
“I didn’t enter the Capitol, but I was still found guilty by a D.C. jury of obstructing an official proceeding even though I didn’t even go inside,” Mr. Rhodes said. “And I was found guilty of seditious conspiracy, although they had zero evidence of an actual plan. They just used my speech. It will be the same thing with President Trump.”
Mr. Rhodes also told the outlet that federal prosecutors pressured members of his militia group to testify against him.
“They threatened [witnesses] with life in prison,” Mr. Rhodes said. “That’s what’s going to happen to President Trump.”
In March, Mr. Rhodes told The Epoch Times that he was being prosecuted for “who I am” and warned conservatives that Jan. 6 was “only the beginning of a political persecution campaign aimed at all of you.”
Mr. Trump, who is seeking the Republican nomination for the 2024 White House race, took to his Truth Social account to criticize Mr. Smith and the Biden administration.
“As my Poll numbers go higher & higher, the Communists, Marxists, & Fascists get more & more CRAZY with their ridiculous Indictments & Election Interference plans & plots, all controlled by an out of control, & very corrupt, DOJ/FBI,” Mr. Trump wrote.
“Republicans must get tough or the Dems will steal another Election. MAGA!” Mr. Trump added, referring to his “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan.
According to the latest Echelon Insights survey, which asked 413 likely GOP Primary voters from June 26 to June 29, Trump held a commanding lead with 49 percent of support, followed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis with 16 percent.
Biotechnology entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy finished third with 10 percent of support, followed by former Vice President Mike Pence and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley with five percent of support each.
Mr. Rhodes said he and Florida Oath Keepers leader Kelly Meggs are being held in solitary confinement in the District of Columbia jail as a punishment for being outspoken in the media about their seditious-conspiracy convictions in relation to the events of Jan. 6, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol.
Mr. Rhodes said he and Mr. Meggs were put in “involuntary protective custody” on the orders of Deputy Warden Kathleen Landerkin, who made headlines in 2021 for refusing GOP lawmakers entry into the jail for a welfare check of Jan. 6 pretrial detainees.
Mr. Rhodes said he is being treated like he’s Hannibal Lecter, the fictional serial killer and cannibal from popular novels and Hollywood films.
“We have to be cuffed to walk out into the shower,” Mr. Rhodes earlier told The Epoch Times. “And to go rec, like to go to outdoor rec, I have to be shackled in a chain around my waist and ankle chains, taken outside, and put in an outdoor cage.
“It’s the same thing I went through in Oklahoma,” Mr. Rhodes said, referring to his pretrial detention before being moved to the D.C. area.
“Being treated like you’re a violent—like you’re Hannibal Lecter, basically,” he said. “It’s ridiculous. This is where they put people who have made attempts to escape or assaulted guards.”
Meggs was sentenced on May 26 to 12 years in prison for seditious conspiracy, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of an official proceeding, conspiracy to prevent members of Congress from discharging their duties, and tampering with documents or proceedings. He was acquitted of destruction of government property.