WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A leader of the far-right “Oath Keepers” group charged in the deadly U.S. Capitol riots said she was in Washington on Jan. 6 to provide security for legislators and meet with Secret Service agents, according to a court filing.
Jessica Watkins, 38, is one of nine associates of the anti-government group charged with conspiring to storm the Capitol to prevent Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s election victory.
Prosecutors allege members of the Oath Keepers conspired as early as November to storm the Capitol and had extensively planned for a military-style attack. More than 200 people have been charged so far for their roles in the assault by followers of then-President Donald Trump that left five dead, including a police officer. According to the indictment, Watkins arrived at the Capitol with communication devices, reinforced vests, camouflage helmets and goggles. She forcibly entered the Capitol “with a line of individuals wearing Oath Keeper clothing, patches, and insignia,” prosecutors said.
Watkins, who has been detained since mid-January, is asking for the court to release her to home confinement pending trial, noting she is at risk for “harsh treatment” as a transgender woman.