A leader of the Oath Keepers who was recently arrested said she worked hand in hand with the secret service and other security personnel at a rally ahead of the January 6 Capitol riots. She also said she spent time in the days before the riots providing security to legislators and others.
According to CNN, Attorneys for Ohio Oath Keepers leader Jessica Watkins detailed how the efforts among paramilitants who are now accused of conspiracy on January 6 were closer to then-President Donald Trump and his rally than was previously known.
The new details were shared in a filing on Saturday. Those details were included in facts about Watkins, who is a military veteran who served in Afghanistan. The attorneys were arguing for her release from prison prior to her trial.
“On January 5 and 6, Ms. Watkins was present not as an insurrectionist, but to provide security to the speakers at the rally,” the filing said. “To provide escort for the legislators and others to march to the Capitol as directed by the then-President, and to safely escort protestors away from the Capitol to their vehicles and cars at the conclusion of the protest.”
The attorneys added Watkins had a VIP pass to the rally. She also met with Secret Service agents. Watkins was often just 50 feet away from the stage where Trump would later speak from.
Secret Service Denies Working With Watkins
After news of the filing went public, the Secret Service was quick to talk about the Oath Keepers leader’s claims.
“To carry out its protective functions on January 6th, the U.S. Secret Service relied on the assistance of various government partners. Any assertion that the Secret Service employed private citizens to perform those functions is false,” a US Secret Service spokesperson said in a statement to CNN.
For now, the Justice Department is keeping mum. It hasn’t responded to Watkins’ claims in court.
The Oath Keepers leader is central to one of the biggest criminal conspiracy cases the government has pursued in decades.
The Justice Department indicted her and eight other members of her group on charges related to the riot, including allegations that the group coordinated their travel to the pro-Trump event. The others involved in the conspiracy case are also charged with training some of the rioters.
Video of the Oath Keepers that are charged shows them using military tactics during the siege.
Oath Keepers On Trial
The Justice Department believes it has an iron-clad case. That’s thanks in large part to those videos.
Prosecutors previously said Watkins waited for direction from Trump. The department also believes she received direction before she joined the siege. She then allegedly led several others into the Capitol building to fight against Congress’ certification of the Electoral College vote.
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