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Oath Keeper now says she didn’t meet with Secret Service around the January 6 rally

Jessica Watkins, a leader in an alleged Oath Keepers conspiracy in the US Capitol insurrection, changed her story Monday about meeting with Secret Service agents in describing her actions on January 6.

In a court filing over the weekend, Watkins said she was given a VIP pass to the Trump rally, had met with Secret Service agents and was providing security for legislators and others, including in their march to the Capitol.

But on Monday, Watkins took back some of those assertions, saying she had merely spoken with Secret Service members as she passed through security at the rally.

Watkins also continued to point a finger at rally organizers whom she felt had empowered her as a security presence for the private event, according to her court filing on Monday.

Still, Watkins’ details in court suggest how the efforts among paramilitants who are now accused of conspiracy on January 6 were closer to the apparatus around then-President Donald Trump and his rally than was previously known.

Watkins, a former Army ranger who served in Afghanistan, is seeking to be released from jail as she awaits trial, following her indictment for conspiracy and other actions on January 6. She is set to be in court before a federal judge Tuesday afternoon.

Regarding her passing encounter with the Secret Service, “She was given directives about things she could and could not do, including directions to leave all tactical gear outside of the VIP area, and she abided by all of those directives,” her court filing said on Monday.

“Ms. Watkins does not suggest that she has any direct knowledge that her role as security was sanctioned by anyone other than people involved in organizing the rally,” the new filing added.

The US Secret Service, in response to Watkins’ claims in the Saturday filing, denied that private citizens worked with them to provide security on January 6. The Trump rally was privately organized, and the Secret Service was there only to guard officials under its protection.

“To carry out its protective functions on January 6th, the U.S. Secret Service relied on the assistance of various government partners. Any assertion that the Secret Service employed private citizens to perform those functions is false,” a US Secret Service spokesperson said in a statement to CNN on Sunday.

The Secret Service did not respond to Watkins’ revised claims Monday.

The Justice Department, which is prosecuting Watkins’ case, has not yet responded to her claims in court.

Article Topic Follows: Politics

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