“A Tale of an American Political Prisoner”

Part 15: The Federal Courthouse; Washington, DC

–The “OathKeeper 1” Trial: The Verdict–

by: Jessica Watkins (X: @J6ssicaWatkins)

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

The US Marshals led us into the Courtroom and it was PACKED! There wasn’t a vacant seat in the Gallery. Allegedly, the “Verdict had been reached” and we were brought straight upstairs. But there’s no way that could be true. The Gallery was far too full; not just with a mob of journalists eager to get “the scoop”, but also FBI Agents, and “Washingtonians”. It had to have been coordinated to get that many asses into the benches. Even that little worm, Ahmed Basset, crawled out from whatever rock he’d been hiding under. Everybody wanted a piece of us, and were waiting with baited breath to see the axe drop. As I said in a text message once, “…our neck is already in the noose. They just haven’t kicked the chair yet”. Well, now their foot was on the back of the chair, and everyone in that Gallery was hoping to see us dance. When the Marshals led us to our seats, you could have heard a pin drop. It was dead silent, and eerie. The little lizard in my brain ran circles in terror unable to escape the apex predator that was intent on devouring us; the United States Government. Liz came over to me (she’s such a sweet person) and she looked at me and said “No matter what happens here, it doesn’t change who you are. You’re a good person, OK? This doesn’t define you.” I needed that, because all I could think was “If I get rubberstamped with crimes I didn’t commit today, I am going to hang myself in my cell tonight”.

I’ve experienced a LOT of trauma and danger in my life. I have been shot at, had terrorists trying to blow me up, I’ve crawled into structure fires, I was set on fire in a training accident, I had a tractor blow up next to me during a fire, I’ve run through teargas and kneeknockers to rescue the injured, I’ve had Black Lives Matter people threaten to kill me, I had a Louisville PD SWAT Team descend on me and stick a rifle in my face, I had a broken arm/ribs and was crushed in the Senate Hallway and peppersprayed, and I surrendered myself to the Police after an FBI/Joint Terrorism Task Force raided my house. I’ve been through a LOT in my life. But that moment in that Courtroom was the most afraid I have ever been in my life. Period. My death will probably be less terrifying than the day my Jury read the verdict at the end of my trial. The Judge walked out of his chambers, and we were instructed “All Rise”. Then the Jury came out to deliver their Verdict. They read the charges sequentially, starting with “Count 1: Seditious Conspiracy”. Then they read each of our names sequentially, and their verdict. “Stewart Rhodes, we find GUILTY. Kelly Meggs, we find GUILTY…” I almost had a heart attack right there. I looked at Kelly with the deepest sympathy. The man literally rescued a Police Officer, and then assisted the Police in evacuating the Capitol. “…Kenneth Harrelson, NOT GUILTY…” my breath choked in my throat. There was still hope. “…Jessica Watkins…” time froze for a moment “…NOT GUILTY…” I collapsed in my chair a bit, the acid of bile was in my throat, I wanted to cry in relief. My wonderful attorney, Jonathan Crisp, rushed to me and hugged me from behind, but I felt like a limp fish as he shook me. My ears were ringing and I couldn’t think. I don’t even remember hearing that Tom Caldwell was ALSO found Not Guilty of Seditious Conspiracy. I was too numb, and my head was spinning.

Then came the next counts, and I cleared my head and tried to focus. I knew that they wouldn’t stop there. They had found Stewart and Kelly guilty of Seditious Conspiracy (based on what, I don’t know precisely). The Jury continued, “Count 2 and 3: Obstruction of an Official Proceeding and Conspiracy (linked charges). Stewart Rhodes, NOT GUILTY…”. I cocked my head. “Well… that’s interesting”, I thought. I didn’t see that one coming. “…Kelly Meggs, GUILTY! Kenneth Harrelson, GUILTY! Jessica Watkins, GUILTY! Tom Caldwell, NOT GUILTY!” Ah, OK then, so the Jury considered “going inside” an act of Obstruction. “Count (I think) 4: Destruction of Government Property. We find Defendant Stewart Rhodes NOT GUILTY! Kelly Meggs, NOT GUILTY! Kenneth Harrelson, NOT GUILTY! Jessica Watkins, NOT GUILTY! Tom Caldwell, NOT GUILTY!” I nodded and smiled at my Jury. So they WERE paying attention; we were half a mile away when the damage to the door was committed; nearly 30 minutes before we arrived on Capitol Grounds. I stared daggers at the Prosecution and Ahmed Basset. The two charges that the Government INSISTED I plead Guilty to in a Plea Deal were the PRECISE two charges that this Democrat DC Jury had just found me Not Guilty. To me, that was THE win. I knew I didn’t “Conspire to Obstruct an Official Proceeding” either. As I had stated on Zello, texts, emails, and Social Media posts, “It spread like wildfire that Pence betrayed us, that it’s over… Then we stormed the Capitol…. We wanted our voices heard” All of this slipped past our Jury apparently, but I understand how. The Jury had HUNDREDS of texts, emails and Social Media posts to parse through. The Jury continued, “Count 5: Impeding Officers responding to a Civil Disorder, we find Defendant Jessica Watkins GUILTY!” Saw that one coming. They weren’t wrong, and I basically told them as much. As did my attorney. Each of the other Defendants were also found Guilty of “Obstructing Justice” for deleting Social Media posts. This ended our trial.

After the Verdict was complete, I was certain that I would be going home soon. Given the outcome of the verdict, my Attorney requested an Oral argument on my behalf, stepping up to the podium and asking Judge Mehta, “Given the results of this trial, I would request immediate release for my client; Ms. Watkins”. It was the “Destruction of Government Property” charge that had justified Judge Mehta in denying me Bond. I had spent ALL that time in the DC Gulag for damage to the door, damage committed by someone else, long before I got there. I was suddenly hopeful, that I could go home with my husband, @MontanaSiniff. But my Judge wasn’t having it. Frankly I think the barrage of NOT GUILTY’s in the Verdict angered him, and he said “Ms. Watkins hasn’t done ‘Time Served’ yet, so your motion is denied, and Ms. Watkins must remain incarcerated”. I won’t lie, that kinda made me mad. The only reason I was behind bars was because the damage to the doors deemed me “a threat to society”. But if I wasn’t a threat to society, why couldn’t I go home until Sentencing (6 months later). But, the verdict still filled me with hope. Other J6ers had been sentenced with the “Obstruction of an Official Proceeding” charge and gotten a mere 8 months. Others got 1 year and 1 day. Others got 33 months. The J6ers that had assaulted Police were getting 4-5 years. I didn’t have ANY violent charges (now that I was found Not Guilty of Destruction of Government Property), so I assumed that I would get somewhere along the higher ranges; something like 24-30 months. Regardless of how I was sentenced, I just KNEW that this nightmare would all be ending soon! I had no idea how wrong I would be. I left the courtroom with mixed emotions; elated to have a partial acquittal. But I also felt very badly for Stewart and Kelly. I was not (and still am not) convinced that either of them committed a Seditious Conspiracy. As we were taken back to the jail, we passed the US Capitol once more, glittering with lights and dome illuminated in the darkness. I spoke with Kenny and Kelly, and they were at peace. Forever will they be my brothers. But, our adventures were only just beginning.