“A Tale of an American Political Prisoner”

Part 14: The Federal Courthouse; Washington, DC

–The “OathKeeper 1” Trial: Jury Deliberations–

by: Jessica Watkins (X: @J6ssicaWatkins)

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

Our trial was over, and now our Jury had to make heads-n-tails out of what they had been presented. It was as if they had been shown 2 different events, with 2 different stories. They had seen with their own eyes some of the shenanigans the Government had pulled; all the lying/perjury, hiding evidence, changing stories, and miscontextualized information. Some of the malfeasance was not seen, like the Witness Tampering or the contradictions with the Grand Jury transcripts. They had seen witnesses like Me, Tom and Stewart under attack by the Prosecutors, and then they saw how the evidence they presented us was a complete falsification (like the “DM me” text from Kelly). At one point during Stewart Rhodes testimony, the Government even stooped so low as to show “sex talk” between Stewart and one of his Attorneys (Kellye Sorrell). When they showed the “sex texts” the Prosecutors Nestler and Manzo childishly celebrated the moment, openly fist-bumping each other over the table and laughing loudly. It was every bit as pathetic as I describe it, and I don’t think Judge Mehta or the Jury appreciated it at all. Trial is an austere event, not a “Boys Locker Room” environment where the Government gets to make fun of people for their sexual fetishes. People’s lives are at stake. Our lives. My life. The “sex messages” never had anything to do with… anything! They were used to “establish that Kellye Sorrell and Stewart Rhodes had a romantic relationship”. But Stewart had already admitted that. Stewart had stipulated a romantic involvement with Kellye (the opposite of what Fani Willis and her boo-thang did). There was no question that Kellye and Stewart were an item, it was already established fact. The message had only one purpose: to attempt to embarrass Stewart Rhodes and attempt to make a fool out of him. Instead, Stewart just “rolled with it”, and made light of the texts, which made our Jury laugh. The Government stopped laughing. Their “plan” backfired bigtime.

Our Jury had a quagmire of evidence to sift through. Hundreds of Exhibits; helmets, medical equipment, paintball guns, airsoft guns, and a few real guns (none of which had anything to do with the events of January 6th), emails, text messages, maps of DC, brouchures for the Protest that showed the protest would occur on the Capitol Steps, permits, contracts, video, audio, pictures, testimony, and all sorts of miscellaneous items. One piece of Evidence that I am certain that they would NEVER watch, was that damned Heavy Metal video. We had seen it enough to last 3 lifetimes There was so much Evidence to comb though. It was a daunting task, I am sure; to parse through 2.5 months of confusing headache, and then to hold the evidence against a poorly worded Statute and ask themselves the question “Did these people ‘Conspire to Obstruct the Peaceful Transfer of Power’, or ‘Destroy Government Property’ or to ‘Use Force’ against the Government? … or were they good people that were just making the best of a bad situation? The mantle of this responsibility lay upon 12 people with no legal background. But before they could do so, one Juror must be “Voted off the Island”. We started the trial with 12 Jurors, and 2 Alternates (extra Jurors). At the beginning of the trial, only the Judge, Defense, and Prosecution knew who was going to be cut. It was held a closely guarded secret until the trial had ended. During the course of the trial, one of the ACTUAL Jurors had contracted COVID and needed to be quarantined for 10 days. This left us with only one remaining Alternate Juror at the end of the trial. When Judge Mehta announced which Juror would be cut from the Deliberation, the reaction by the Jury was… well, sweet. It was clear that the trial had brought these 13 people together. They were very fond of each other; one Juror started crying, others leapt up to hug him, or shake his hand to wish him well as he departed. It actually made my Jury endearing quite endearing to me. It was cute.

Once the Alternate Juror had departed, Judge Mehta turned and gave the Jury their instructions, explaining each Criminal Statute clearly as possible. It was VERY tedious to give the Jury Instructions. There were dozens of instructions, and it took like 2 hours to explain everything. Then the Jury recessed and Jury Deliberations began. All of the other J6 trials previously had taken a mere hour or two, and the Jury returned a verdict with a GUILTY on all charges. I was hopeful that OUR Jury wasn’t swayed by the Media, by the Democrats, or by the January 6th Select Committee that accused ME of crimes BY NAME during the course of THIS trial. I was terrified. The Marshals led us to the holding pens beneath the Federal Courthouse. Hours went by. Then lunch came (a paper sack with 2 slices of warm bologna, 4 slices of white bread, and 2 Duplex Creme cookies). This had been our lunch for 2.5 months, and whatever the verdict was, I would NOT miss sweaty bologna sandwiches. The hours crawled by, and finally the Marshals came to get us. They instructed me to change back into Orange prison uniforms, and out of civilian clothes. The day was over, and the Jury still didn’t have a verdict! This filled me with hope, as I was handcuffed and put back into the Paddywagon and taken back to the jail. Me, Kelly and Kenny talked about it exchanging our hopes that the Jury wasn’t going to rubber stamp us, and were actually weighing the evidence fairly. We held our breath as the Paddywagon weaved through the city, wondering if the people who lived here were capable of finding the “Infamous January 6th OathKeepers” innocent. I needn’t tell you, but optimism is a deadly poison behind bars. The next morning, the same thing happened. I didn’t even bother getting dressed out in civilian clothes. I curled up in my DCDOC coat and slept fitfully as we waited for consensus.

It took quite some time before the Marshals came to get me. They instructed me to get dressed and get ready. We were shackled and brought back into the Courtroom. It was completely empty, with only Judge Mehta, the Defense attorneys, and the Prosecution. The Jury still had not come up with a verdict, but they DID have questions, “What does ‘Seditious’ mean” their chosen Jury spokesperson asked. It was the Seditious Conspiracy statute that confused them. They didn’t understand what “agreed” and “force” constituted. Judge Mehta told them everything he could, legally. Without any real clarity, the Jury retired once more to continue deliberations. We were brought BACK into the basement, and a few hours later, we were loaded once more into the Paddywagon. I was getting excited; I was becoming convinced that they were NOT going to Rubber Stamp us, but that they were actually taking their job seriously. Once again we exchanged our hopes on the ride back to the jail. The next day we were brought back to the Courthouse, and once more we slept fitfully on uncomfortable steel benches; ever wary of the massive cockroaches that roamed freely in the depths of the cold dungeon. When the Marshals came and told me to get dressed, I asked him, “Do they have more questions?” The Marshals were grim. “No Jess, they have a Verdict. This is it. Are you ready?” A chill swept down my spine, and I went slick with sweat. No! No I was not! Nothing can prepare you for that moment. We were led through these now-familiar tunnels under the Courthouse, shackled and dressed. None of us had much to say, if anything. My body felt numb, it was an out-of-body type situation. I couldn’t believe this was happening. I wasn’t alone I’m sure. We were likely all petrified. This moment was the moment we would learn our fates; the question that loomed over each of was was “Are we all going to die behind bars? Will I ever see my family ever again?” My heart was beating out of my chest, and I was dizzy with fear. In mere moments we would find out.