The defense team for Jessica Watkins, a leader of the far-right Oath Keepers group, said she was in contact with the Secret Service before the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and was there at the service of the former president.

Watkins is among nine people with ties to the Oath Keeper who are facing charges of conspiracy for their roles in the riots in Washington D.C. Former President Donald Trump urged his supporters to march on the Capitol building during a rally not far from where lawmakers were assembling to certify the results of the Nov. 3 election.

Court filings show her defense team is arguing that Watkins was there at the behest of Trump. A spokesperson for the Secret Service said those claims are categorically false.

Watkins “believed that the President of the United States was calling upon her and her small militia group to support the President and the Constitution,” the Boston Herald cited the filing as stating. “She was ready to serve her country in that manner.”

House impeachment managers used similar claims to defend their position that Trump had incited the siege on the Capitol building. The former president was ultimately acquitted in the Senate, though a handful of members of the Republican Party crossed the aisle to vote in favor of a conviction.

A veteran of the conflict in Afghanistan, Watkins pleaded not guilty to the conspiracy charges. Arriving in camouflage helmets and reinforced vests, Watkins and her fellow Oath Keepers are accused of forcibly entering the Capitol building, although her lawyers said she was there to provide security.

“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 protesters away from the Capitol to their vehicles and cars at the conclusion of the protest,” her attorney was quoted as saying by Reuters. “She was given a VIP pass to the rally. She met with Secret Service agents.”

Allegedly egged on by a tweet from the former president in mid-December, court filings show members of the Oath Keeper and those from the all-male Proud Boys network were among the most organized leaders of the Capitol attack.

By late December, Thomas Caldwell, described as an Oath Keeper ringleader, was allegedly planning for violence: "Let them try to certify some crud on capitol hill with a million or more patriots in the streets,” he said from his Facebook account. “This kettle is set to boil.”

Five people, including a police officer, were killed during the storming of the Capitol. Trump was acquitted on the impeachment charge of inciting an insurrection.

Rioters outside the Capitol on January 6 Rioters are seen outside the Capitol on Jan. 6. Photo: AFP / ALEX EDELMAN