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Jessica Watkins, a sworn keeper, sentenced to 8.5 years in the January 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 on Friday after apologizing for his actions.

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

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

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

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

Watkins’ sentencing 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 defendant from the Oath Keepers will be sentenced on Friday afternoon and other members of the far-right group will be sentenced next week.

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

“No one would suggest you’re Stewart Rhodes, and frankly, I don’t think you’re Kelly Meggs,” Judge said. But she was more than just a foot soldier, he added.

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