Another Oath Keepers Member And Army Veteran Is Sentenced To 8 And A Half Years In Prison For The Assault On The Capitol

Another Oath Keepers Member And Army Veteran Is Sentenced To 8 And a Half Years In Prison For The Assault On The Capitol

The role of the Oath Keepers in the assault on the Capitol 3:43

(WABNEWS) — Jessica Watkins, an Army veteran and member of the far-right organization Oath Keepers, was sentenced Friday to 8 1/2 years in prison for participating in a plot to disrupt the certification of the 2020 presidential election that culminated in the January 6 attack on the US Capitol.

Judge Amit Mehta called Watkins’s attitude on Capitol Hill “aggressive” and said he had no immediate remorse, though he has since issued an apology.


“Your role that day was more aggressive and more determined than perhaps that of others. And you guided others to fulfill your purposes,” Mehta said. “And in the immediate aftermath there was no feeling of shame or contradiction, quite the opposite. Your comments were celebratory and lacked a real sense of the gravity of what happened that day and your role in it.”

At trial, prosecutors produced evidence that Watkins founded and led a small militia in Ohio and on January 6 mobilized his group in coordination with the Oath Keepers to Washington. Watkins and his colleagues eventually marched a tactical team on the Capitol and encouraged other rioters to push the police out of the Senate.

“She was just another idiot running down the hall,” Watkins told the court before sentencing on Friday. “But idiots are responsible, and today you are going to hold this idiot accountable.”

Two of Watkins’ co-defendants, Stewart Rhodes and Kelly Meggs, were sentenced Thursday to 18 and 12 years in prison, respectively, for seditious conspiracy.

Unlike Rhodes and Meggs, Watkins was acquitted of the main charge of seditious conspiracy, but convicted of conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, which carries the same maximum prison sentence of 20 years as seditious conspiracy, as well as other felony charges.

“No one would suggest that you are Stewart Rhodes, and I don’t think you are Kelly Meggs,” Mehta told Watkins on Friday. “But your role in those events is greater than that of a foot soldier. I think you can figure that out.”

‘I was in denial’

Watkins, who is transgender, gave emotional testimony during the trial about fighting for her identity in the Army while the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy was still in effect, and about being swept up in conspiracy theories surrounding the 2020 presidential election.

Tearfully, she reiterated to the judge Friday that she was “very fearful and paranoid” at the time, and that while she had “for a long time” denied her own guilt, she was now able to “see my actions for what they are.” they were—they were wrong and I’m sorry.”

“Now I understand that my presence in and around the Capitol that day probably inspired those people to some degree,” Watkins said. “They saw us there and that probably turned them on. ‘The Oath Keepers are here and they’re patting us on the back.'”

And he continued: “How many people entered because of us? We are responsible for that.”

Prosecutor Alexandra Hughes disagreed, telling Mehta that Watkins was not truly sorry.

Hughes cited a January phone call from jail, in which Watkins allegedly said of the officers on Capitol Hill: “Oh, oh, those poor cops, they have PTSD!”

“It is perhaps not a surprising fact of human nature that those who are subjected to injustice occasionally inflict injustice on others,” Hughes said. “We don’t discuss what (Watkins) has been through, but what she did that day has profound and devastating effects on the people who showed up to work that day who had never done anything to Jessica Watkins.”

Before passing sentence, Mehta directly addressed Watkins’ traumatic story, saying, “I don’t think there’s a human … who has heard your testimony and hasn’t been moved.”

“Your story itself shows a tremendous amount of courage and resilience,” Mehta said. “You have overcome a lot and you should be considered a role model for other people on that journey. And I say this at a time when trans people in our country are often vilified and used for political purposes.”

But the judge added: “I find it even more difficult to understand the lack of empathy for those who suffered that day.”

This story has been updated with additional developments.



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