What does seditious mean?

LAWBREAKERS found guilty of sedition can be fined a hefty amount or face up to 20 years in prison, according to US law.

The word gained popularity following the January 6, 2021, Capitol riots, which took the lives of five citizens.

What is sedition?

Sedition in the dictionary is defined as "conduct or speech inciting people to rebel against the authority of a state or monarch."

Words that inspire a revolution that overthrows the government are an example of sedition.

Another definition of sedition is "organized incitement of rebellion or civil disorder against authority or the state, usually by speech or writing."

What is seditious conspiracy?

The statute 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."

Experts say that the “rarely used statute could be difficult to prove in court and potentially run up against First Amendment protections," according to The Wall Street Journal.

The sedition statute does not require proof of a plot to overthrow the government, according to a memo from former President Donald Trump's Justice Department to US attorneys, obtained by The Associated Press.

It could be used when a defendant tries to oppose the government’s authority by force, according to the memo.

The memo cited as a hypothetical example “a group has conspired to take a federal courthouse or other federal property by force."

Then-Attorney General William Barr had pushed to bring federal charges in protest-related violence whenever they can.

What happened during the January 6, 2021, Capitol attack?

Following the results of the 2020 Presidental Election, a mob of 2,000 to 2,500 Donald Trump supporters attacked the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.

The storming of the Capitol building began after Trump addressed his supporters as congress voted in President Biden.

He told followers to “walk down to the Capitol” and “fight like Hell".

Officers told how they faced protesters breaking through barriers with knives and guns – with one officer losing half their hand.

Around 3:00pm that day, rioters officially broke into the Senate chamber, many posting selfies and videos from the inside.

Following the attacks, a committee was created to investigate the incident and over 730 people have been arrested and charged in relation to the attacks.

Sedition began trending on social media after a federal US prosecutor Michael R. Sherwin declared that evidence obtained by the government in their investigation on the attack on the Capitol most likely meets the need to charge some suspects with sedition.

The department has rarely brought charges of sedition.

more from capitol protests


What to know about the arrests made in January 6 attacks


Who are Thomas Caldwell and the Oath Keepers?


Oath Keepers founder charged with conspiracy over Capitol riot 'plot'


Who is Oath Keepers' founder Stewart Rhodes?

What is the penalty for sedition in the US?

President John Adams signed into law the Sedition Act of 1798, which set out punishments of up to two years of imprisonment for "opposing or resisting any law of the United States" or writing or publishing "false, scandalous, and malicious writing" about the President of the U.S.

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