Prosecutors argued that four men “decided to take the presidential election into their own hands” at the start of a second major trial of militia members on seditious conspiracy charges in Washington.

It comes after the recent conviction of Oath Keeper leader Stewart Rhodes and Florida chapter leader Kelly Meggs on charges related to the storming of the US Capitol on 6 January 2021.

Prosecutors say the Oath Keepers plotted to stop the transfer of power from Donald Trump to Joe Biden.

The trial, which began on Monday, is a key test of whether the US government will successfully continue to use the seditious conspiracy law – which carries a possible sentence of up to 20 years in prison – to go after far-right groups associated with the Capitol riot.

The convictions of Rhodes and Meggs were the first under the law since 1995, although three other Oath Keepers tried alongside them were acquitted of the most serious charge.

The defendants in the latest trial are Roberto Minuta of Texas, Edward Vallejo of Arizona, and Joseph Hackett and David Moerschel, both from Florida.

They are also charged with other crimes, including obstructing an official proceeding and tampering with evidence. They have pleaded not guilty.

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