Seditious conspiracy – as defined & penalized in US federal law

On Wednesday, January 6, 2021, a large mob of insurrectionists attempted the violent overthrow of the US Constitution, by attacking the US Capitol building, where Congress was in the process of counting the Electoral College votes in the 2020 Presidential election. The attack was part paramilitary assault, part lynch mob, and included overt plans to capture and execute high-ranking officials.

The attack was sedition, because it sought to break the Constitutional process of government, to install an unelected leader. Federal law specifically prohibits and provides harsh penalties for engaging in a seditious conspiracy.

Title 18, Part I, Chapter 115, § 2384 of the U.S. Code outlines the crime of “Seditious conspiracy” and the corresponding penalties. It reads:

If two or more persons in any State or Territory, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof, they shall each be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both.(June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 808; July 24, 1956, ch. 678, § 1, 70 Stat. 623; Pub. L. 103–322, title XXXIII, § 330016(1)(N), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2148.)

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