WASHINGTON – Nearly two months before the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, Jessica Watkins, an Oath Keepers member and self-described commanding officer of the Ohio State Regular Militia, warned potential recruits that if Joe Biden became president “our way of life as we know it is over.”
Watkins wrote in a text message that she needed the recruits to be “fighting fit” by Inauguration Day, according to court documents.
“It is our duty as Americans, to fight, kill and die for our rights,” she said.
Prosecutors alleged that Watkins promoted “military style” basic training for recruits run by a former Marine drill sergeant while organizing logistics for them to travel to Washington and giving them advice on what weapons are legal in the city and what to wear.
Watkins has since told a judge that she renounces the Oath Keepers, an extremist group that mostly recruits people who served in the military, law enforcement or as first responders, and are concerned a cabal of elites is trying to strip Americans of their rights.
“We’re done with that lifestyle,” Watkins said.
The bar owner and veteran of the war in Afghanistan is one of 31 people charged with conspiracy in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, which left five dead and 140 police officers injured. Conspiracy is a loaded word for the public, but for courts, conspiracy depends on suspects agreeing to take criminal action.
More than 430 people have been charged in the riot, which authorities continue to investigate. A…