Jessica Watkins, a transgender woman, was one of five Oath Keeper members convicted for their participation in the January 6 Insurrection that attempted to derail certifying the 2020 presidential election, the Department of Justice announced Tuesday.Watkins and the other Oath Keepers were found guilty following an eight-week-long trial and three days of jury deliberations.The Oath Keepers are a far-right group with many members associated with militias and with former military or law enforcement backgrounds, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.Elmer Steward Rhodes, the founder and leader of the Oath Keepers, and Kelly Meggs, leader of the group’s Florida chapter, were both found guilty of sedition.Watkins, 40, was found guilty of conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of an official proceeding, interfering with law enforcement officers during a civil disorder, and conspiracy to prevent an officer from discharging duties.
Kenneth Harrelson and Thomas Caldwell were convicted on related felony charges.“As this case shows, breaking the law in an attempt to undermine the functioning of American democracy will not be tolerated” FBI Director Christopher Wray said. “The FBI will always uphold the rights of all citizens who peacefully engage in First Amendment protected activities, but we and our partners will continue to hold accountable those who engaged in illegal acts regarding the January 6, 2021, siege on the U.S.
Capitol.”The group, including Watkins, had been planning to block the lawful transfer of presidential power, according to the DOJ.
The department said the group coordinated via encrpypted and private communications apps to travel to Washington, D.C. around the time of January 6 — when.