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‘Oath Keeper’ Jessica Watkins will stay in jail before her trial

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On Friday, a federal judge ruled that a member of a far-right militia group who stormed the US Capitol building will remain in jail after she petitioned to be released over safety concerns.

Jessica Watkins, an alleged ‘Oath Keeper’ charged with conspiring to attack the US Capitol building on January 6, made her first public comments since her arrest last month in a court hearing on Friday, where she denounced the extremist organization and said she was “humbled” and “humiliated” by the charges against her according to CNN.

But Watkins, who said she’d been “treated harshly” and is at “particular risk in custody” because she is transgender, will not get to await her trial in home detention, federal Judge Amit Mehta of the DC District Court decided.

Mehta told Watkins directly that he believes there is a continued risk that she will reaffiliate herself with anti-government extremist groups if released. He said Watkins “presents a danger” and eagerly participated in “a historic event that was a real threat to the fabric of our democracy,” according to the outlet. 

jessica watkins oath keepers militia jail headshot

This undated photo provided by the Montgomery County Jail shows Jessica Watkins. Watkins and Donovan Crowl, both from Ohio, are being held at a county jail in Dayton, after being arrested Monday,Jan. 18, 2021. Watkins and Crowl, two self-described militia members, are facing federal charges that they participated in the assault on the U.S. Capitol earlier this month.

Montgomery County Jail via AP


The 38-year-old Watkins told the judge she is “canceling” her Oath Keepers membership.

“Given the result of everything on January 6 and everything that has come out…. my fellow Oath Keepers have turned my stomach against it. Which is why I’m canceling my Oath Keeper membership,” Watkins reportedly said during the court hearing. “I have no desire to continue with people who say things like that.”

She apologized to the court and said she was not a “criminally minded person,” CNN said.

Court filings suggest that Watkins and other members of the Oath Keepers spent months planning their attack on the Capitol.

In a series of text messages obtained by prosecutors, Watkins and other Oath Keepers appear to detail extensive plans to storm Congress. They may have been planning the attack as early as November.

“It is our duty as Americans to fight, kill and die for our rights,” Watkins texted a contact on November 17.

The court documents also said Watkins personally trained recruits to prepare them for the attack. 

Authorities believe Watkins to be the leader of the Ohio State Regular Militia, a far-right group that has overlapping membership with other Oath Keepers, Insider reported earlier this week. She is a former Army ranger, Afghanistan war veteran, and volunteer firefighter.

Watkins told the court she would be shutting down the Ohio State Regular Militia to focus on running a bar she owns in the state.

“We’re done with that lifestyle,” Watkins reportedly said. “I have a struggling small business. I did it out of love for my country, but I think it’s time to let that all go and focus on my business.”

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