arrest getty images
Stewart Rhodes, the commander of the Oath Keepers, was given an 18-year prison term for the Capitol disturbance. This is a representational image. Caspar Benson/Gettyimages

A far-right militia commander was given an 18-year prison term for his involvement in the disturbance at the U.S. Capitol.

Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes was found guilty of seditious conspiracy and other offenses.

The punishment meted out to a Capitol rioter is the longest thus yet. Attorneys had requested a 25-year sentence.

Kelly Meggs, the militia's Florida branch head, was imprisoned for 12 years at the same time.

Rhodes stayed outside the Capitol but coordinated the assault on the structure with Meggs and other party members.

In one of the most publicized trials connected to the incident on Jan. 6, 2021, Rhodes and Meggs were also found guilty of interfering with an official investigation and tampering with records or procedures.

At a hearing on Thursday, Rhodes showed little remorse, claiming he was a "political prisoner" and insisting that the Oath Keepers were standing in opposition to people "who are destroying our country".

Judge Amit Mehta disproved such assertions and voiced worry about Rhodes' threatening language, which included a promise to hang former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

"I dare say, Mr Rhodes, and I've never said this about anyone who I've sentenced: You, sir, present an ongoing threat and peril to this country, to the republic and the very fabric of our democracy," the judge said, BBC reported.

"We all now hold our collective breaths with an election approaching," he said. "Will we have another January 6th? That remains to be seen."

The punishment given to Rhodes for the disturbance, in which hundreds of Donald Trump supporters rushed the U.S. Congress in protest of the outcome of the 2020 presidential election, was the longest thus far.

Prosecutors had asked for 25 years for Rhodes and 21 years for Meggs. Defense attorneys had urged for penalties that were significantly lighter—less than three years apiece.

Two days after the November 2020 election, while the ballots were still being tallied, Rhodes launched a campaign to contest the results.

"We aren't getting through this without a civil war," he said in a plea to his followers. "Prepare your body, soul, and mind."

After spending thousands of dollars on guns and equipment, Rhodes and other Oath Keepers hid them in a hotel room in nearby Virginia just before January 6, 2021.

While other Oath Keepers, including those commanded by Meggs, entered the building during the actual melee, Rhodes remained outside the structure accepting calls and messages.

Rhodes, according to the prosecution, behaved like a "battlefield general" throughout the brawl.

Defense attorneys claimed that the militia was just acting defensively and that the weapons cache had never been used. They want to challenge the judgments.

Rhodes' estranged family said in interviews with the BBC last year that they had endured years of abuse and neglect as the militia commander organized anti-government militants around the nation.

Natasha Adams, his ex-wife, said earlier this week through Twitter that a Montana court had granted her a divorce from Rhodes.

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