Self-proclaimed ‘idiot’ Oath Keeper sentenced to more than 8 years in Jan. 6 case

WASHINGTON — A military veteran who stormed the U.S. Capitol with the Oath Keepers on Jan. 6 was sentenced to 8½ years in federal prison Friday after apologizing for her actions.

Jessica Watkins told U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta that her actions were “reprehensible,” and apologized for the impact that her conduct had on the country.

“My actions and my behaviors that fateful day were wrong, and as I now understand, criminal,” she said. “Violence is never the answer.”

Watkins, recalling her testimony during her trial, said once again that she was “just another idiot” running around the Capitol on Jan. 6, and apologized to the officers.

“I was just another idiot running around the Capitol,” she said. “But idiots are held responsible, and today you’re going to hold this idiot responsible.”

Watkins’ sentence came the day after Mehta sentenced Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes to 18 years in federal prison and Florida Oath Keeper Kelly Meggs to 12 years. Another Oath Keepers defendant will be sentenced Friday afternoon and additional members of the far-right group will be sentenced next week.

Mehta said that Watkins’ behavior was not as bad as that of Rhodes or Meggs, but that it was still serious and that she also played a role in bringing others to Washington on Jan. 6.

“Nobody would suggest you’re Stewart Rhodes, and frankly, I don’t think you’re Kelly Meggs,” the judge said. But she was more than just a foot soldier, he added.

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