“A Tale of an American Political Prisoner”

Part 6.2: DC Dept. of Corrections-CTF; Washington, DC

–A J6 Reunion–

A True Story; 100% verifiable with Text Messages, Emails, Video/Audio, Court Documents and Testimony.

The dozen or so of us (more or less) filed into the Unit. To both our left and right were lines of cells in a cavernous hallway style room; with a second upper tier of cells with an adjacent walkway with railings above. A catwalk ran from an office to the top tier, and steps ran along either length of the cell block. Everything was painted in a dismal blue. We were assigned cells, and once we were settled, one of the orderlies (known as “Detail”) made his rounds and introduced himself. He knocked on the glass to my door and waved me over. He said, “Do you know who I am?” I didn’t have a damn clue, giving him a shrug with palms up. “Nnnnnooooo?” He had a big smile and proudly proclaimed “It’s me…” gesturing as though it were obvious, “…Bigo Barnett. I’m the guy who put his feet on Nancy Pelosi’s desk”. A lightbulb flickered upstairs somewhere, placing a mental picture over the genuine article. I vaguely saw the resemblence. “Oh, right on man. That’s cool. Do you know who I am?” … “Noooo…”. “I am Jessica Watkins, the transgender OathKeeper.” Ah. Awkward. Two of the more famous (at the time) J6er’s… and neither one of us recognized each other. He wouldn’t be alone. By the end of the day, I’d meet numerous other J6er’s; Timothy Hale, Dominick Pezzola, Jake Lang, Ryan Samsel, and half a dozen others.

Once we were assigned cells and we settled in, I crashed. Hard. Being surrounded by J6ers put my mind at ease, that at least I would be safe here, but I was displeased to see I had been housed in a men’s unit. I had believed the intake lady, and clearly had been misled. I was super embarrassed to be in there, and was certain that I would be judged for being trans; that I would be an unwelcome outsider as a result. I couldn’t be more wrong, but at the time I didn’t know that. The next day I was taken to Medical and had my broken arm X-rayed. I was hopeful something would be done, but I would be wrong yet again. In those times, we were only given one hour of Rec (Solitary Confinement), most of which I spent crying on the phone with Montana and waiting for my big day. My Bond Hearing was drawing nearer and nearer, as the second Trump Impeachment dragged onward. When the day for my Detention Hearing arrived, I was super excited. Montana packed the car and had someone cover for him at our bar as he prepared to come drive to pick me up from the jail. All the arrangements were in order. Finally, I could go home!

The guards shackled my wrists to my waist, and my ankles were placed in leg restraints. In the prison realm, this is known as a “Three Piece Suit”. I was led jingling through the jail and brought down to the video court appearance; full of optimism and hope. Idiot. I was given 5 minutes before the Hearing to talk with the Defense Attorney I had been assigned. Her name was Shelli Peterson, a very nice motherly type woman; the Deputy Director of the Federal Public Defenders Office. At the time I trusted her implicitly. I told her with no ambiguity, “My case will be a slam dunk. I am innocent, and I can prove it…” But there was no time for that. The Hearing was about to begin. My Prosecutor was a man by the name Ahmed Baset, a slimy, overly ambitious weasel working for the Department of Justice. My Judge seemed like a very gentle man by the name Hon Judge Amit P. Mehta. As the hearing went back and forth, as Ahmed Baset obfuscated and lied in order to justify denying me release. He showed a picture of a damaged door, and vehemently declared that I was “…a terrorist. The destruction of the Capitol Doors was an act of terrorism.”, despite the fact there was no evidence I was involved whatsoever (which I wasn’t – I was half a mile away at the time, on Pennsylvania Ave). He went on to say that he feared, “…Ms. Watkins could return to the Bar business she owns, and recruit others to foment another Insurrection”. He also declared that “…Ms.Watkins is a flight risk, and could flee from Justice. For these reasons, Ms. Watkins should be denied Release.” Yup. All of that. Pull the Court Transcripts if you doubt me.

So let me get this straight: He considered me a terrorist because a door was damaged. A door that I had nothing to do with; I wasn’t even on the same street at the time. He considered me a threat to society because I could go home and work as a bartender, and then somehow “foment an insurrection” while serving beers. He thought I was a flight risk becauuuuuse… he just does? The only 2 reasons a person could be denied Bond according to the Bail Reform Act are “A Threat to Society” and “Poses a Flight Risk”. Neither of which there was any evidence to support. Furthermore, he wanted to assert that I had “…No Right to a Bond hearing at all, because the statute says ‘Anyone facing 10 Years or More is ineligible to have a Detention Hearing’. The Destruction of Government Property Charge was a Sentence ‘Up to 10 Years’. So for that, Ms. Watkins should be denied release.” It literally hinged on a 24 hour window, and for that he felt that I should be forced to remain behind bars. Judge Mehta had other views however. He said “Ms. Watkins isn’t a flight risk, she drove for 10 hours to surrender herself to the authorities. The other matters will need consideration. File your motions, and we can reschedule the Detention Hearing and you can bring forward your arguments”. I left the Hearing disappointed, but full of optimism. The Judge didn’t rule against me, he just needed more time. So did I. I needed to call my attorney, who I had zero opportunity to prepare. I had only met her 5 minutes before the Hearing began, there was no chance to set the story straight. Next time, we’d be ready, and next time I would finally go home!