Oath Keeper Jessica Watkins claims she was VIP safety at Trump rally earlier than riot and says she met with Secret Service brokers
Attorneys for Ohio Oath keeper Jessica Watkins explain how the efforts of the paramilitaries, who are accused of conspiracy on January 6, were closer to the machine around then-President Donald Trump and his rally than previously known.
By revealing the new details on Saturday, the defense attorney for Watkins, a former army ranger who served in Afghanistan, is pleading for her release from prison and other restrictions while she awaits trial.
“On January 5th and 6th, Ms. Watkins was not present as an insurgent, but to provide security for speakers at the rally, to give lawmakers and others the opportunity to march to the Capitol on the orders of the then president to end protesters of the protest safely from the Capitol to their vehicles and cars, “said the court record on Saturday. “She was given a VIP pass to the rally. She met with Secret Service agents. She was within 50 feet of the stage during the rally to ensure the safety of the speakers. At the time the Capitol was breached she was still there from the first rally at which she had ensured security. “
US intelligence, in response to Watkins’ claims in the file filed on Saturday, denied that private individuals worked with the agency on Jan. 6 to provide security.
“In order to carry out its protective functions on January 6, the US secret service relied on the support of various government partners. Any allegation that the secret service used private persons to carry out these functions is false,” a spokesman for the US secret service said in a statement to CNN on Sunday.
The Justice Department, which is pursuing the Watkins case, has not yet responded to their claims in court.
Watkins plays a pivotal role in one of the most aggressive criminal conspiracy cases to emerge from the riot. The Justice Department sued her and eight other alleged oath guards on multiple allegations related to the riot, including allegations that the group coordinated their trip to the pro-Trump event, previously talked about training and guns, dressed in body armor, and breached the crowd got into the Capitol in a military formation.
Watkins’ attorney argued in the new file that she was not violent in hand-to-hand combat, and although she is accused of assisting in property destruction, she did not engage in vandalism or encourage others not to do so. The judicial filing is the senior defendant’s first meaty defense in court.
Prosecutors previously said Watkins waited for Trump’s instruction – believing she received it before joining the siege, and allegedly led several others to the Capitol to fight Congressional certification of the electoral college.
Watkins defense attorney Michelle Peterson wrote on Saturday that her client and other Trump supporters believed the then-president was relying on the Insurrection Act to use the military to overthrow what it mistook as a fraudulent election designated by Joe Biden. And Watkins and others believed “they would play a role if this happened,” the file says.
“However wrong they may be, their intentions were in no way intended to overthrow the government but to support what it believed to be the rightful government. It took an oath in support of the constitution, and.. had no intention of violating this or that oath to commit acts of violence. “
Watkins’ attorney argued on the file that her client was wearing tactical gear to possibly defend himself and went up the Capitol steps in a “stack” formation with other Oath Guardians because the group might want to stay together in the crowd .
The attorney also noted that Watkins is now at risk in jail because of the coronavirus and because she is transgender.
She has been detained since her arrest in mid-January. The Justice Department is trying to keep her in prison until the trial.
This story has been updated with comments from a US intelligence spokesman.
CNN’s Whitney Wild contributed to this report.