Alleged insurrectionist files for release to home confinement in Champaign County

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WDTN) – The Champaign County woman charged with taking part in the insurrection at the US Capitol is asking to be released to home confinement while her case proceeds. 

Jessica Watkins’ public defender is asking for federal judge to release her from a Washington D.C. jail, and allow her to remain in home confinement in Woodstock, Ohio in Champaign County.

The 13-page motion for release was filed by attorney Michelle Peterson over the weekend. It states “there is insufficient evidence to demonstrate that Ms. Watkins would be either a risk of flight or a danger to her community if she were released on stringent conditions.” 

It also says Watkins has no history of violence and no prior convictions. At least one legal analyst thinks the judge could agree to the request for release. Thaddeus Hoffmeister is a professor of law at the University of Dayton. He says, “I think I kind of agree with defendant here. I’m not sure about the future danger, especially someone who doesn’t have a prior criminal record.” 

Watkins’s attorney claims she even helped care for people injured during the event. And later in the motion, Peterson acknowledges Watkins had access to weapons but says it cuts both ways, writing “it means she presumably had a choice to take those weapons into the District of Columbia and onto the Capitol grounds and made a conscious decision not to do so.” 

WATCH Jessica Watkins’ attorney claims she met with the Secret Service and was given a VIP pass to the rally. Here are more of the claims in the motion, and the Secret Service’s response:

Attorney Peterson also claims Watkins was mistreated while in custody, saying she went on a hunger strike to get medical attention, but was instead “left naked in a cell with lights on 24 hours a day for 4 days in full view of everyone else.” 

The Montgomery County Jail was one of the facilities she was held at. No one was available for an interview, but a spokesperson writes “our staff has investigated the claims that were recently made by Ms. Watkins and determined that the allegations that were described did not occur in our facility.” 

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