WASHINGTON – A military veteran who stormed the US Capitol with the oath-keepers on Jan. 6 was sentenced Friday to 8½ years in federal prison after apologizing for her actions.

Jessica Watkins told US District Judge Amit Mehta that her actions were “reprehensible” and apologized for the impact of her conduct on the country.

“My actions and my behavior on that fateful day were wrong, and as I understand now, criminal,” he said. “Violence is never the answer.”

Watkins recounted her testimony during her trial, once again saying she was “just another idiot” running around the Capitol on January 6, and apologized to the officers.

“I was just another idiot running around the Capitol,” she said. “But idiots are held responsible, and today you are going to hold this idiot responsible.”

Watkins’ sentencing came the day Mehta sentenced Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes to 18 years in federal prison and Florida Oath Keeper Kelly Meigs to 12 years. Another Oath Keepers defendant will be sentenced Friday afternoon and additional members of the far-right group will be sentenced next week.

Mehta said Watkins’ behavior was not as bad as Rhodes or Meigs, but it was still egregious and that he had also played a role in bringing others to Washington on January 6.

The judge said, “No one would suggest you to be Stewart Rhodes, and frankly, I don’t think you are Kelly Meigs.” But she was much more than just a foot soldier, he said.

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