New court orders show a leader of Oath Keepers, pro-Trump paramilitary group, was "awaiting direction" from Donald Trump to "stop the steal" of the 2020 Presidential election and was "trained and plotted for a moment like this." In a legal filing released on Thursday, the Department of Justice (DOJ) described Jessica Watkins' actions were be "premeditated" and were with the intention to disrupt business and conspire to hurt and officer and damage federal property.
Watkins, a 38-year-old Army veteran, has now been accused of participating in a conspiracy to assault the Capitol in "an organized and practiced fashion" to stop Congress from certifying the results of the election. The court papers were unveiled just hours before the third day of Trump's impeachment trial.
According to prosecutors, Watkins believed that she was following Trump's call to lay siege to the Capitol and stop Congress from certifying Joe Biden's victory. As the inauguration day started approaching, Watkins gave hints that she was "awaiting direction from President Trump."
Her actions on the day of the riot are evident and backed by a November 9, 2020, text in which she had stated: "I am concerned this is an elaborate trap. Unless the POTUS himself activates us, it's not legit. The POTUS has the right to activate units too. If Trump asks me to come, I will. Otherwise, I can't trust it."
Prosecutors further accuse Watkins of using militant language to prepare the members of Oath Keepers to fight against the "existential threat" of Biden's inauguration, should Trump send them the call.
Conspiring Against the Government
The court documents also reveal that she was concerned about how to start the siege and waited for orders from Trump. She reportedly wrote to a recruit: "We already have our neck in the noose. They just haven't kicked in the chair yet." The Oath Keepers believes in a 'shadowy conspiracy' to strip Americans of their rights. It often recruits current and former military, police or other first responders.
Watkins, who is from Champaign County, Ohio, is one among them. She has now been charged with several counts including conspiracy, conspiracy to hurt an officer, violent entry, obstruction of official business and destruction of government property.
As Trump's impeachment trial went into its third day, investigations reveal that the Oath Keepers were all prepared to fight and take control over the Senate and stop Congress from moving ahead with Biden's certification. According to FBI, several of the members were wearing helmets, protective vests and items with the group's name and motto: 'Not On Our Watch.'
Watkins, who called herself the commanding officer of the group, moved inside the Capitol a very "organized fashion" much like a military operation. Prosecutors say she had a "single-minded devotion to obstruct through violence" and came in a camouflaged battle fatigue, tactical vest with an Oath Keepers patch, combat boots, military grade helmet, and radio equipment. She remains behind bars since her arrest on January 17.