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The lawyer for Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes and other extremists tied to the Jan. 6 attacks has been disbarred in the commonwealth of Virginia on a slew of professional violations, including candor toward the tribunal, fairness to opposing party, unauthorized practice of law and other misconduct.
“Violating Professional Rules”
When representing Oath Keepers Florida chapter leader Kelly Meggs in an ongoing seditious conspiracy prosecution, Jonathon Alden Moseley raised the ire of the federal judge presiding over that case late last year by filing a “bombastic” legal brief likening COVID-19 vaccines to the Holocaust. The filing invoked the Nuremberg principles to prevent his client from getting vaccinated in jail pending his trial in connection with the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
“The court will not allow this case to become a forum for bombastic arguments […] or propagating fringe views about COVID-19 or vaccinations,” U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta wrote in November, telling Moseley and his co-counsel Brad Geyer not to file a document with the proposed chapter heading “SCOTUS Could Not Have Foreseen the Holocaust.”
Mehta also wrote at the time that such a motion was unnecessary as to Moseley’s client: “To this court’s knowledge, the D.C. Department of Corrections does not require any person held there to accept a COVID-19 vaccine.” Apparently undeterred, Moseley and Geyer went on to continue espousing vaccine conspiracy theories in a follow-up brief.
“The post-WWII world cried with a terrible cry, ‘Never again!’ yet courts have thus far spectacularly failed in their charge, and American jurisprudence must redeem itself in the face of great peril,” they wrote, in a passage criticizing the Supreme Court’s Jacobson decision finding vaccine mandates to be legal.
The disciplinary action from the Virginia Bar, however, appears to be entirely unconnected to that bizarre legal brief.
In a brief announcement on Tuesday, the disciplinary board of the Virginia bar posted the following paragraph revoking Moseley’s license:
Effective April 1, 2022, the Circuit Court of Prince William County revoked Jonathon Alden Moseley’s license to practice law in the Commonwealth for violating professional rules that govern safekeeping property; meritorious claims and contentions; candor toward the tribunal; fairness to opposing party and counsel; unauthorized practice of law, multijurisdictional practice of law; bar admission and disciplinary matters; judicial officials; and misconduct.
“Sophistry and Logical Fallacies”
As first reported by Politico on Tuesday night, the disciplinary action followed a two-day hearing, and Moseley told that news outlet that he plans to appeal.
In an email to Law&Crime, Moseley depicted his professional turmoil as a distraction to his clients’ cases.
“In all honesty and sincerity, could you go through all of the legal developments that have proven that the Oath Keepers are innocent and that the case against them is fabricated by sophistry and logical fallacies before worrying about me?” Moseley asked in an email. “Since the news media has enacted a black out of information proving that the Oath Keepers have been framed, I don’t think it is appropriate to pay attention to me instead of covering-up the government’s false accusations.”
Since Rhodes’ indictment for seditious conspiracy earlier this year, a wealth of information about how they allegedly plotted to disrupt the congressional certification of Joe Biden‘s victory has spilled into the public sphere. Oath Keepers member Joshua James pleaded guilty to the seditious conspiracy charge, the most serious conviction federal prosecutors have landed to date.
“Rhodes and certain co-conspirators, to include selected regional leaders, planned to stop the lawful transfer of presidential power by January 20, 2021, which included multiple ways to deploy force,” the grand jury alleged in a 48-page indictment. “They coordinated travel across the country to enter Washington, D.C., equipped themselves with a variety of weapons, donned combat and tactical gear, and were prepared to answer Rhodes’s call to take up arms at Rhodes’s direction.”
Though Moseley claimed his clients were there merely to provide “protective security details” to VIPs at the permitted rally, the indictment shows Oath Keepers marching in military “stack” formation into the Capitol. Prosecutors say that a so-called “quick reaction force,” or QRF, stayed behind in a Comfort Inn in Ballston armed with weapons that they were prepared to ferry across the Potomac, upon former President Donald Trump’s directive. Such an order never came.
According to Politico, Moseley’s disbarment could affect his ability to represent Jan. 6 defendants because he is not a member of the District of Columbia Bar, and his ability to practice in federal courts in D.C. is linked to his Virginia license. That uncertainty adds another layer of pressure to the multi-defendant case, which is currently set to go to trial in July. Mehta has repeatedly resisted efforts by the defendants’ attorneys to move that trial date, including issuing a March 29 order denying a joint motion to continue the trial. A status conference for Meggs has been set for Thursday.
In addition to his Oath Keepers cases, Moseley also has represented “Stop the Steal” movement founder Ali Alexander in his subpoena fight and Proud Boys member Zachary Rehl in that conspiracy case.
Court records also show that Moseley was suspended from practicing law for six months in 2009, after a three-judge panel in Loudoun County Circuit Court found that he “violated professional rules that govern candor toward the tribunal, fairness to opposing party and counsel, truthfulness in statements to others, false or reckless remarks about judicial officials, and misconduct.”
(Photo via DOJ)
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