The Secret Service denied that private citizens were working with it to provide security at the ‘Stop the Steal’ rally ahead of the U.S. Capitol insurrection on January 6, but didn’t deny a claim by Oath Keeper militia member Jessica Watkins that she met with them before the riot.
Watkin’s attorneys claimed in a weekend filing that she was supplied “a VIP pass to the pro-Trump rally on January 6, had met with Secret Service agents and was providing security for legislators and others,” CNN reports.
The Secret Service responded to the claims in a statement: “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.”
The agency did not respond to claims about the meeting.
Wrote Watkins’ lawyers in a court filing: “On January 5 and 6, Ms. Watkins was present not as an insurrectionist, but to provide security to the speakers at the rally, to provide escort for the legislators and others to march to the Capitol as directed by the then-President, and to safely escort protestors away from the Capitol to their vehicles and cars at the conclusion of the protest,” the court filing said on Saturday. “She was given a VIP pass to the rally. She met with Secret Service agents. She was within 50 feet of the stage during the rally to provide security for the speakers. At the time the Capitol was breached, she was still at the site of the initial rally where she had provided security.”
Watkins recently appealed to be released from jail because she is transgender, Buzzfeed News reports: “Watkins, an Oath Keeper charged with conspiring to storm the US Capitol, has asked to be released from jail pending trial, alleging that she has been ‘treated harshly’ and is at ‘particular risk in custody’ because she is transgender. She also argues she is no threat to the public and went to the Capitol only because ‘she believed that the president of the United States was calling upon her.'”