Lawyers for Ohio Oathkeeper Jessica Watkins explain in detail how the efforts of the paramilitaries who are now accused of conspiring on January 6 were closer to the apparatus around then-President Donald Trump and its gathering than previously known.
Sharing the new details in the case on Saturday, defense attorney for Watkins, a former army ranger who served in Afghanistan, is pleading for her release from prison on bail and other restrictions as she waits his trial.
“On January 5 and 6, Ms. Watkins was not present as an insurgent, but to ensure the safety of speakers at the rally, to escort lawmakers and others to march to the Capitol as requested. the then president, and to safely escort the demonstrators from the Capitol to their vehicles and cars at the end of the demonstration, ”the court file said on Saturday.“ She received a VIP pass for 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 violated, she was still in sight. of the initial gathering where she had provided security. “
The U.S. Secret Service did not immediately respond to a CNN request for comment on Sunday.
Watkins is at the heart of one of the most aggressive criminal conspiracy cases yet to emerge from the insurgency. The Justice Department indicted her, along with eight other suspected Oath Keepers, on several counts related to the riot, including allegations that the group coordinated their trip to the event. Trump, discussed training and weapons ahead of time, donned body armor, and pierced the crowd. head towards the Capitol in a military style formation.
Watkins’ attorney argued in the new case that she was not supposed to have been violent in the fray and that although she is accused of aiding in the destruction of property, she did not participated in the vandalism and encouraged others not to do so as well. The court filing is the high profile defendant’s first strong defense in court.
Prosecutors had previously said Watkins waited for Trump’s instructions – and believed he received it before joining headquarters, allegedly leading several other people into the Capitol building to fight against Congress’ certification of the Electoral College vote.
Watkins’ defense attorney Michelle Peterson wrote on Saturday that her client and other Trump supporters believed the then president would use insurgency law to use the military to overthrow what ‘he falsely said to be the fraudulent election of Joe Biden. And Watkins and others believed “they would have a role to play if that happened,” the file says.
“Wrong as it is, her intentions were in no way related to an intention to overthrow the government, but to support what she believed to be the legal government. She took an oath to support the Constitution and did not had no intention of violating this oath or committing acts of violence. “
Watkins’ attorney argued in the case that his client had worn tactical gear potentially for self-defense, and climbed the Capitol steps with other Oath Keepers in a “stack” formation because the group might have wanted to stay together in the crowd.
The lawyer also noted that Watkins now faces risks in prison, because of the coronavirus and because she is transgender.
She has been detained since her arrest in mid-January. The Justice Department is seeking to keep her in prison pending trial.
CNN’s Whitney Wild contributed to this report.
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