“A Tale of an American Political Prisoner”

Part 11.5: The Federal Courthouse; Washington, DC

–The “OathKeeper 1” Trial: The Defense Case In Chief Part 5–

by: Jessica Watkins (X: @J6ssicaWatkins)

A True Story; 100% verifiable with Courtroom Transcripts, Evidentiary Exhibits, Court Documents and Testimony.

Jonathan Crisp is an excellent attorney. His handling of my case had gone quite well thus far, so I understand why he was nervous when I became adamant that I take the stand and testify. Stewart and Tom’s testimony had fallen flat, and I understand his concerns. But I was innocent of the crimes I had been charged with. To hell with everything, I wanted the truth to be known. I told the FBI EVERYTHING and they didn’t want to hear it. In fact, they deliberately ignored everything I said, despite having corroborated every statement I had made (over the span of 5 debriefing sessions, at three hours apiece). My attorney even questioned Special Agent Palian on cross examination, asking him point blank. “During your debriefings with Ms. Watkins, did my client at any point make any statement that turned out to be false?” He hesitated, knowing the answer would certainly harm his case. But it was a line he couldn’t cross, so he split the difference and stated unequivocally “We didn’t document any inconsistencies”. So… no then. NO! I DIDN’T LIE, NOT ONCE! I knew what I did and did not do on January 6th, and I TOLD THEM everything, for better or worse. It’s the reason I am willing to tell YOU about it. I had told the FBI the truth, even when it was damning. It is why I was willing to tell my Jury too, and so I decided to testify. No more hiding behind lawyers and motions, or attempting to pull testimony from others. I wanted to speak myself. I wanted to have MY voice heard; I was tired of being unheard, silenced. My voice had been silenced since January 5th, and it hadn’t mattered since the clock struck midnight on the 6th. But now, I was about to take the witness stand and recount the events of January 6th myself.

When the FBI Analyst had concluded her testimony, proving that the Government fabricated my Call Log, the Government and Judge Mehta expected (according to the schedule) for my attorney to “Rest his Case”. Instead, Attorney Crisp threw a wrench into the works, and stated “The Defense would like to call one further witness, my client, Ms. Jessica Watkins”. I swallowed the lump in my throat and stood. Meggs, Harrelson, Tom, and Rhodes… they all looked up in surprise. I hadn’t told them that I planned to testify either. I could have heard a pin drop when walked up to the witness stand. I sat there and looked over the crowd, my Jury, the Government, my Defendants and their attorneys and then at my Judge and I raised my right had and took the oath. The Government IMMEDIATELY Objected. They got on the “intercom system” that I wasn’t privy to hearing, and the Prosecutors held a frantic discussion. Their body language told everything, they were PISSED! (hahaha! >:] ) The Government clearly wanted time to prepare to cross examine me, they wanted something… ANYTHING to derail my testimony. They hadn’t been informed that I would testify, and so they hadn’t prepared to drill me on the stand. F*** them though, they had lied about me for a year and 10 months. They had PLENTY of time to know every detail about J6 and my actions. They had been accusing me of crimes I didn’t even commit and lying to my Jury for nearly 2 months in trial. They shouldn’t have needed to prepare ANYTHING! But, Judge Mehta clearly didn’t appreciate this “ambush testimony” and so he sided with the Government. He was PISSED OFF. I could have testified right THEN and there; we still had hours left in the Trial schedule for the day. But, Judge Mehta was VERY angry and slammed the lid of his laptop. The order came out that “…we stand adjourned for the day, to allow the Government to prepare for this witness” and he stood. The clerk called out, “All rise!” and he stormed out of the Courtroom.

I stepped back down, and rejoined my codefendants. They were proud of me, that I had the courage. But at first I was dead quiet. When I finally spoke, I told them. “I can’t talk to you, not now. I don’t want you to say ANYTHING to ‘influence my testimony’, not a single thing. Please, talk about the weather, or what’s for dinner. Just don’t do that to me. I have to do this right; by the book.” The US Marshals that were escorting me stayed silent, smiling with their eyes. They were truly good people; all of us had grown quite fond of out trial Marshals. I think they too were proud of me; that I was determined to walk the straight and narrow. When I got back to the jail, I didn’t sleep a wink, and the night seemed crawl by. But when 4am finally came, it seemed too quickly. By 9am, I was back on the witness stand, unrested but undaunted. I took the oath once more and the day began. We gave a quick brief personal history; how I served in the Army, why I left – the struggles I faced as a transperson that was outed against my will. I talked about my service as a Firefighter and EMT. We wasted little time on these issues; more to establish bona fides that I was experienced, trained and Certified to serve as a Medic. Then we dived right in, and we introduced videos of me serving as a Medic during the Black Lives Matter protests. I told them about the BLM riot in Columbus, OH and the dozen BLM folks I helped who were injured by the Police munitions. We showed the videos of the burning Autism Center, of BLM throwing fireworks at Police, of the smoke pillar as Grant Hospital was burned. Then we showed the video of me being confronted by BLM activists in Louisville, KY. I INSISTED on this video being shown, because it was the SOURCE VIDEO that was used to compile the Heavy Metal video. Why? I was so tired of the Heavy Metal video, of the Governments’ portrayal of me as some kind of violent, right-wing racist. The source video showed the truth. That I deescalated tensions, I spoke peacefully to the BLM people; that I remained calm when they threatened to murder me and @MontanaSiniff. It showed that I wasn’t hostile or aggressive. Quite the opposite; I was very nice to them. To find this video, go search YouTube for “OathKeepers Louisville” and look for a long video from September 25th, 2020. You will see for yourself.

I think my Jury looked at me in a new light after that. And not just me, but all of us; Rhodes and Meggs were also in that video; all of us remained calm. All of us were professional and didn’t rise to the threats that they levelled against us. I think our Jury appreciated being shown something new; not just the stupid Heavy Metal video over and over. It was raw and complete cell phone footage that showed us as we are; not as the Government wanted us to seem. Then we moved on to the protective Details. Most of the questions seemed pretty simple. I told them everything I have already told you, so I wont brow beat you with what you already know. Essentially, I told them how I didn’t have weapons, how the FBI knew that there were no weapons, how I didn’t come to DC to do anything but protect Congressmen. It was all pretty standard stuff. Then we got to the Capitol. I told them about how we escorted our VIP with Multiple Sclerosis, and then got swept up in the protest. i told the Jury how I “…lost objectivity, and got swept up in the moment.” and how “…it felt like an American moment. Very patriotic. Not violent or anything”. Then my attorney asked me to describe how it felt to go through the door. During closed door discussions with my attorney, I told him that “it felt like a Black Friday moment. A lot of people trying to get through a narrow entrance.” This testimony I was giving was mere days before Thanksgiving Day, so my attorney thought the analogy was perfect. So, when my attorney asked me how it felt to go through the Capitol door, I repeated the line. “It felt like Black Friday. People kinda pushing against each other, not violently, but just trying to get through a narrow door”. I will tell you right now, the Government was chewing their teeth. They did NOT appreciate that line, and they would attempt to weaponize it for the remainder of my trial.

Finally we got to the Senate Hallway situation, and I knew I had to accept responsibility. By chanting and protesting and getting caught in that squish… I had Impeded those Officers. And so I looked my Jury in the eye, and I told them flat out. “I shouldn’t have done it, but I did. I lost all objectivity, and got swept up in the moment. I am guilty of Impeding those Officers.” I felt ashamed. I felt beaten. My attorney had pulled out a lot of emotions, and I was exhausted from a lack of sleep. It was a LOT, so I was glad when we got to introduce more evidence. It was new evidence that the Jury had not yet seen: the manner of my exit of the Capitol building. They got to see, for the first time in 2 months, the video of me rescuing Isaacs. CCTV Surveillance Camera Video from the Rotunda showed me dragging Isaacs to a Police Officer, asking for directions and then we dragged him out of the door on our shoulders. Then we showed a SECOND video that had been withheld from the Jury; video of me dragging a wounded man down the steps of the Capitol and to the ambulances. I think our Jury saw then that they had been grossly misled about my intentions; how they had been lied to for 2 straight months. I discussed obeying curfew, leaving Capitol grounds voluntarily, less than an hour after we arrived. We showed MORE evidence they had not seen; the BodyCam footage of Police doing the Stop and Frisk on us. We showed how I gave them my accurate information (despite not having my ID), and then I finish the interaction by saying “God Bless you and thank you for all you do” and giving the Officer a fist bump. They now saw, I wasn’t some psycho attempting to overthrow their precious Democracy. I was an idiot who got caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, and made the best of a bad situation. We wrapped up my testimony by explaining that I turned myself into authorities, and the efforts I went to, in order to PRESERVE evidence, just in case it was needed. But the Government wasn’t willing to let all my testimony ruin their entire Case In Chief, they wanted to destroy me more than ever before. And they were about to try, during THEIR Cross Examination.