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Oath Keeper pleads guilty to seditious conspiracy for Jan. 6 attack

Handout via Department of Justice

(NEW YORK) — Joshua James, 34, of Arab, Alabama, pleaded guilty to seditious conspiracy charges on Wednesday as part of deal with prosecutors contingent on his cooperation with the U.S. government in their ongoing prosecution of defendants who were involved in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

The plea deal is the first of its kind for a Jan. 6 defendant and comes nearly a year after James was charged with impeding and obstructing Congress’ affirmation of the Electoral College vote in the 2020 presidential election.

James pleaded guilty before the court to one count of seditious conspiracy and one count of obstructing an official proceeding in exchange for a reduced offense level, which the judge will consider at sentencing. James agreed to pay $2,000 under the agreement for the damages to the Capitol.

The agreement requires James to cooperate with federal authorities, testify before a grand jury, sit for interviews, and turn over an accounting of his financial assets.

The maximum penalty for seditious conspiracy is 20 years in prison, a fine of $250,000 and 3-year supervised release, along with other fees and penalties. James’ cooperation can be used in determining his sentencing, presiding Judge Amit P. Mehta explained to the court.

Without James’ full cooperation, as determined by the government, he will stand in violation of the agreement.

James acknowledged he was instructed by Oath Keepers leader Stuart Rhodes to be prepared to use lethal force if then-President Donald Trump was removed from the White House. Separately, he acknowledged that he, Rhodes and others planned to use “any means necessary” to stop the lawful transfer of power.

James admitted to assaulting an officer on the scene, grabbing him and yelling, “Get out of my Capitol.”

The 10 other alleged Oath Keepers charged in the seditious conspiracy plot, including Rhodes, have pleaded not guilty to all charges against them.

Lawyers for James did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

According to the indictment, James was a leader of a second “stack” of Oath Keepers who breached the building through the east side.

He is accused of forcing his way past law enforcement who were trying to guard the Capitol Rotunda, and of pushing his way past officers who were forced to deploy chemical spray against him.

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