oath keepers Defendant jessica watkins — a former Ohio soldier who raised a militia in the region — was sentenced Friday to 8½ years in prison for his role in the war. January 6, 2021, Capital Attack,
Last year, a jury convicted Watkins of several felony counts, including obstructing Congress and interfering with police, but acquitted him after admitting to most of his actions during the riot and disputing any seditious conduct from the stand. acquitted of the most serious count of seditious conspiracy.
In a pre-written, emotionally raw expression of remorse in court today, Watkins told Judge Amit Mehta – who’s on Stewart Rhodes was sentenced to 18 years in prison on Thursday for seditious conspiracy – that she was sorry for her actions on 6 January.
Watkins said through tears, “My actions and my behavior on that fateful day were wrong and as I understand now, criminal,” later adding that she was “ashamed” of her conduct.
When she testified at the trial, Watkins herself called “another idiot” a part of the crowd inside the capitol building, and cited that testimony on Friday.
“There’s no justification for those officers obstructing the hallways,” Watkins said. “My actions are reprehensible… Today you are going to hold this idiot responsible. My actions added to the cumulative problem of Jan 6th. I asked that I not be judged for beliefs I wrongly held.. .or for crimes the prosecution wanted me to have committed.”
She specifically apologized to the officers, who she said, “Your Honor, I am truly sorry for what I did that day. I am sorry that you are doing this today and the people who were hurt.”
Watkins was accused of mobilizing a group of oath-keepers to travel to Washington, D.C. in support of then-President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. Prior to the January 6, 2021 attack, prosecutors also said Watkins stored weapons outside Washington to bring to the Capitol.
Prosecutors said he made his way from Trump’s rally to the Capitol building in Ellipse wearing armor and tactical gear. He then led a military-style barrage formation to storm the building, the government said, where he admitted he interfered with law enforcement and encouraged other members of the crowd to push past officers. .
During the trial, the government presented the jury with several messages and recordings of Watkins discussing plans to move to the nation’s capital on January 6 and declaring the group to be “storming the Capitol” during an attack on digital communications apps such as Radio. Did.
Watkins – who is transgender – said she went AWOL from military service after her identity was revealed last year. She said she was bullied by her roommate in the military and fled to Alaska because her family did not accept her.
During Friday’s sentencing, her attorney, Jonath Crisp, said trauma and rejection contributed to her belief and vulnerability in participating in an infamous riot. Crisp said his client acted to take advantage of many of the beliefs that motivated him to take action on January 6, including his anger toward the trans community.
When asked by Judge Mehta, prosecutors replied, “While we have our sympathy for Ms. Watkins, she is not absolved of her actions. She cannot be.”
According to prosecutors, during the attack, “he added to the effort with his body, by recruiting others, and with his words” and made “strategic” decisions once inside the Capitol.
The government said that after the riot, Watkins blamed law enforcement for the violations and never accepted responsibility for his actions. “His anger is a warning,” he said.
Mehta described many of the defendants, saying, “Your role in those incidents is more than just a foot soldier. I think you can appreciate that.”
“You led others to accomplish your objectives … and there was no feeling of shame or remorse in the immediate aftermath. Quite the contrary. Your comments were celebratory and reflected a real sense of the seriousness of the day and your role in it.” The judge said, “The sentence needs to reflect the seriousness of that role.”
In sentencing him to 102 months, Mehta said he believed Watkins had previously established his militia group in Ohio to serve that community, but “somewhere along the line, he lost his way.” , averted,” by online voices like Alex Jones, they said.
“You’ve overcome a lot and you deserve to be held up as someone who can really serve as a role model for others in that journey. And I say that at a time when transgender people , who are confronting their gender identity, are very easily humiliated and used for political purposes,” Mehta told Watkins during sentencing. Mehta said that such visits made it difficult for him to overcome the lack of concern for the victims of the capital breach.
Mehta, agreeing with prosecutors, ruled to increase the sentence under the anti-terrorism laws applicable in Watkins’ case, but he ultimately sentenced her to imprisonment below the guideline count.
On Thursday, the same judge sentenced Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes to 18 years in prison and Florida Oath Keepers leader Kelly Meigs to 12 years in custody after both were convicted of seditious conspiracy, the most serious ever The charges were brought in January 6. indictment. Next week, four more members of the far-right group will be sentenced for conspiracy to commit sedition.