Jessica Watkins, an Oath Keeper, sentenced to 8.5 years in Jan. 6 case

WASHINGTON — A military veteran who stormed the U.S. Capitol with the Oath Keepers on Jan. 6 was sentenced to 8.5 years in federal prison on Friday after apologizing for her actions.

Jessica Watkins told U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta that her actions were “reprehensible,” and apologized for the impact that her conduct had on the country.

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

Watkins, recalling her testimony during her trial, said once again that she was “just another idiot” running around the Capitol on Jan. 6, and apologized to the officers.

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

Watkins’ sentence came the day after Mehta sentenced Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes to 18 years in federal prison and Florida Oath Keeper Kelly Meggs 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 that Watkins’ behavior was not as bad as Rhodes’ or Meggs’, but that it was still serious and she also played a role in bringing others to Washington on Jan. 6.

“Nobody would suggest you’re Stewart Rhodes, and frankly, I don’t think you’re Kelly Meggs,” Mehta said. But she was more than just a foot soldier, the judge added.

Judge Mehta said that Watkins, who is trans, has a “fairly compelling life story.” Assistant U.S. Attorney Alex Hughes said that the government does not dispute or minimize what Watkins went through personally, saying that Watkins “has our sympathizes, but she does not have an excuse.”

Watkins complimented Mehta, saying he’d proven to be “an impartial arbiter” and said she understood how the jury — which convicted her of obstruction of an official proceeding and aiding and abetting, but acquitted her on a charge of seditious conspiracy — came to its conclusion.

Watkins said she was “watching InfoWars” and Alex Jones and was “hearing that Dominion servers were being invaded by the Chinese” prior to the Jan. 6 attack. She said she still believes that the country needs to take a closer look at the 2020 election.

Mehta said he gave Watkins credit for her apology and for being willing to plead, although she never reached an agreement with the government.



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