On Friday, Washington Post reporter Rachel Weiner, who is covering legal cases in Alexandria, reported on Oath Keeper leader Jessica Watkins of Woodstock, Ohio, and other militia member cases:
Judge is now asking whether there really was a “quick reaction force” stationed outside D.C. with weapons for militia members’ use on Jan. 6. Prosecutor: “That is our understanding.” And after that tantalizing detail, they are moving off the record.
This comes after Proud Boy members trying out the legal defense of, “Whoops, we didn’t know we were breaking the law,” or, “Whoops, we thought Donald Trump was telling us the truth,” or, “Whoops, we didn’t think we could get arrested for breaking the law.” Watkins in particular tried to renounce her involvement in the Oath Keepers and say she was finished playing seditionist, so could she go home and pretend none of this happened? U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta was not having any of that. Maybe this selection from the prosecutors’ court filings is why?
The next day, Watkins exchanged text messages with Co-defendant Thomas Caldwell about the operational plans for January 6, 2021. This included coordinating about where and when to meet and where to stay. Operational plans also contemplated the possession and use of weapons in D.C. before and on January 6. Caldwell referenced “a quick reaction force [QRF] [that would be]bringing the tools if something goes to hell. That way the boys don’t have to try to schelp weps on the bus.” Watkins previously stated that the QRF provided ready access to guns during operations. As she explained to a contact when preparing to attend a November election fraud rally in Washington D.C., QRF was designed so that “If it gets bad, they QRF to us with weapons for us,” but that, otherwise, “[w]e can have mace, tasers, or night sticks. QRF staged, armed, with our weapons, outside the city” and advised “to be prepared to fight hand to hand” while “guys outside DC with guns, await orders to enter DC under permission from Trump, not a minute sooner.” Watkins’s own operational role extended well beyond providing medical aid. As she explained to a recruit, “I’m no doctor. I’m a soldier. A medic with a rifle, maybe, but a solider. I will hurt/kill those who try to hurt/kill me or others.”
Yikes. Like most of the Oath Keepers and other militia members being arrested and charged right now, the defense being employed amounts to, ”Hey, we’re full of shit, and we thought this would work but it didn’t so how about we pretend we didn’t do it.” Hopefully the photos that ARLnow reporter Jay Westcott took are helpful in bringing more justice against fascists.