Ohio woman charged for role in deadly Capitol riot claims she met with Secret Service about insurrection

Ohio woman charged for role in deadly Capitol riot claims she met with Secret Service about insurrection
Jessica Watkins, Donovan Crowl pose for photo shared on social media (Source: U.S. District Attorney's Office)

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - An Ohio woman, alleged to be a member of the “Oath Keepers” militia, claimed she met with Secret Service agents and was actually in Washington, D.C. to provide security for speakers at then-President Donald Trump’s rally in the moments before the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol building.

According to federal court documents, Jessica Watkins faces charges for allegedly conspiring to riot at the U.S. Capitol as Congress met in a joint-session to certify the election results naming Joe Biden president.

  • Conspiracy
  • Obstruction of an official proceeding and aiding and abetting
  • Destruction of government property and aiding and abetting
  • Entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds

Watkins and Donovan Crowl, another alleged militia member from Ohio, were arrested in mid-January after warrants were issued for their alleged involvement.

A man and woman from Ohio are charged in connection with plotting the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Posted by Cleveland 19 News on Wednesday, January 27, 2021

The attorneys for the 38-year-old woman, who served for the United States military in Afghanistan, filed a brief on Saturday with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Watkins’ counsel claimed that she was not involved in any of the violence at the Capitol building, but instead, admittedly dressed in tactical gear, was there to provide security to legislators and escort protesters to their vehicles at the end of the demonstration.

“... Watkins was present not as an insurrectionist, but to provide security to the speakers at the rally, 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. She was given a VIP pass to the rally. She met with Secret Service agents.”

The defense attorneys reiterated in the briefing that there is no evidence that she violently participated in the riots, claiming the Capitol was already breached by the time Watkins arrived.

Prosecutors for the U.S. District Attorney’s Office argue that Watkins, along with hundreds of others who were arrested for allegedly participating in the deadly Jan. 6 uprising, believed that Trump “was calling upon her and her small militia group” to overthrow the government.

Evidence shows Watkins inside the Capitol with Oath Keepers members, according to the district attorney.

Watkins remains in federal custody, but is asking for release on conditions of home confinement, claiming she is not a risk of flight or a danger to her community and is vulnerable to harsh treatment while detained as a transgender female.

A detention hearing for Watkins is set for Feb. 26, according to court records.

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