Oathkeeper loses his cool in inflammatory conspiracy trial

Far-right Oath Keepers member Jessica Watkins stood up this week to defend herself against accusations that she committed an inflammatory conspiracy — and it didn’t go smoothly.

Five defendants linked to rebel groups have been on trial for more than six weeks so far on charges of attacking the US Capitol on January 6, 2021. Prosecutors said the Orth Keepers had hidden high-powered rifles, handguns and ammunition near the Capitol in case they felt an opportunity that day to use the weapons to keep then-President Donald Trump in power. said. The Oath Keepers claim they were there to provide “security” that day.

Watkins’ unexpected decision to testify on Thursday reportedly led to a courtroom blowout as he defended the idea that the 2020 election wasn’t above the board.

“Half this country still feels this way. Half this country still feels disenfranchised in this election!” Watkins said angrily. According to Mother Jonesand reporterin court“We didn’t have free and fair elections!”

The day before, Watkins’ attorney, Jonathan Crisp, had helped her tell jurors about her background as a transgender veteran who had been bullied for her gender identity and disowned by her family for some time. Watkins worked at a bar in Ohio with his partner.

She testified that she had become increasingly paranoid about government public health restrictions during the pandemic and had watched conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ show “InfoWars” for “five or six hours” each day. CNN reportedShe said, “The United Nations [was] According to CNN, they are going to go in and out to enforce vaccinations.

“InfoWars” reportedly led Watkins to the Oathkeepers. Elmer Stewart Rose — Watkins’ fellow defendant — has spoken to Jones several times on the show.

Watkins said Wednesday that he knew it would be “really stupid” to go inside the Capitol. The Associated Press reportedShe testified that she was “swept away” by the turmoil of the day, comparing it to Black Friday sales. rice field.

“Are you proud of what you’ve done?” Crisp asked her Wednesday.

“No more,” Watkins replied, according to the Associated Press.

reporter explained Watkins apologized and at times got emotional in the stands. But that faded when she was cross-examined by government lawyers who scrutinized her previous statements.

Watkins reportedly upset When Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexandra Hughes questioned her claim that she was unaware of the violent act on Jan. 6.

Hughes then poked at Watkins about the Black Friday comparisons and pulled out her outburst about the election.

Defendants Rhodes and Thomas Caldwell likewise struggled with cross-examination early in the trial. His two other defendants, Kelly Meggs and Kenneth Harrelson, did not run.

Caldwell claimed Tuesday that the message he wrote about transporting “heavy weapons” across the Potomac River was merely “creative writing.” According to APand reporterin court.

Closing arguments in the trial are scheduled to begin on Friday.